DHS expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility

Cdc Warns Of Severe Illnesses From Monkeypox As Ohio Reports Death Of A Monkeypox Patient
Jeenah Moon/AP
The CDC has issued a new warning to health care providers on September 29 about severe illnesses in people with monkeypox.

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has again expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine.

Gay and bisexual men, trans men and women, gender non-conforming individuals and non-binary individuals who have received a new diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases like acute HIV, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis are now eligible for the vaccine, the agency said. Those who anticipate having sex at a commercial sex venue and those who have attended an event or venue where monkeypox exposure or transmission was known, as well as those individuals’ sexual partners, are also eligible under the new guidance.

Multiple other groups have already been deemed eligible for the vaccine, including those who have been identified as being at risk through contact tracing and other public health investigative steps; gay and bisexual men, trans men and women, gender non-conforming individuals and non-binary individuals who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners; people who have had a sexual partner in the past two weeks who was diagnosed with monkeypox; and people who work in higher-risk jobs like in research or clinical labs or sexual health clinics.

In a news release Wednesday, DHS said it’s making the move following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“People who are eligible for the monkeypox vaccine should make an appointment to get their vaccine as soon as possible to protect their health,” DHS chief medical officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said in the release. “Early data show that receiving at least one dose of the monkeypox vaccine provides some level of protection against the disease. This is encouraging news, but it is important for people to get both doses for maximum protection.”

Two vaccines are currently available for monkeypox.

As of Wednesday, 81 monkeypox cases have been reported in Wisconsin, including 41 in Milwaukee County and 15 in Dane County, according to the latest DHS data.

Monkeypox, which is from the same family of viruses as smallpox, can cause serious health issues, including skin lesions, rashes, fevers, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and chills. It is spread through close sustained contact with a person who has the virus.

To learn more about vaccination options, click here.