Wisconsin has received nearly 3.3K monkeypox vaccines; priority still for those at highest risk

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin has received nearly 3,300 doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine as it works to vaccinate those at the highest risk for the infection, the state’s Department of Health Services said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the department’s chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, said Wisconsin has requested the maximum number of vaccines it can from the federal government. Of nearly 5,986 vials that have been allocated to the state, 3,286 have made their way to Wisconsin, with the rest to be delivered in phases, he said.

The state has implemented what Westergaard described as a hub and spoke distribution model, with vaccines being sent to central hubs in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee for further distribution to clinics, health departments and other group sites from there.

As vaccine supply increases in the state, he said, DHS will add vaccination locations.

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Due to limited supply, vaccines are currently being prioritized among those who are at the highest risk, including those who have come into contact with people infected with monkeypox, those who have had a sexual partner in the last two weeks who was diagnosed with monkeypox, people who attended events with known monkeypox exposure and men who have sex with men and have had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization allowing the vaccine to be administered intradermally — between layers of the skin — in addition to subcutaneous — beneath the skin — injection. That step allows the same vial of vaccine to be able to used in as many as five people instead of just one, helping stretch vaccine supplies to reach more people.

“Obviously we have more people who could benefit from vaccines than we have doses for, so the ability to stretch our vaccine that much farther is a great opportunity,” Westergaard said.

As of Tuesday evening, nearly 600 doses of vaccine have been administered in the state. As of Wednesday, 32 monkeypox cases have been found in Wisconsin.

For more information about monkeypox in Wisconsin, click here.