The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is expanding eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine. The state has received additional vaccines and eligibility guidelines are now expanded to include to any male age 18 or older who identifies as having sex with other men. People interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to contact health care providers listed on the NDDoH monkeypox vaccine locator. People who are identified as close contacts to monkeypox cases will also continue to be a high priority for vaccination.
North Dakota has reported two cases of monkeypox in the state. “The risk to the public is low at this time. Transmission primarily occurs through close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox,” said Kirby Kruger, Section Chief of Disease Control. “The current cases nationally and internationally mainly involve men who have sex with men, which is why these individuals are being prioritized for vaccination.”
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a change in the route of administration of monkeypox vaccine in order to maximize the supply. Previously, the vaccine was administered by the subcutaneous route, requiring a larger volume of vaccine. Monkeypox vaccine may now be administered intradermally, which requires a smaller (1/5) dose of vaccine. Both routes of vaccination produced a similar immune response in a previous study. North Dakota previously received 275 doses of monkeypox vaccine. Monkeypox vaccine allocations to North Dakota are based on the population as well as the number of cases of monkeypox that have been reported.
“In order to prevent a monkeypox outbreak in North Dakota, it is important that those who are eligible for vaccination be vaccinated quickly,” said Molly Howell, immunization director. “Individuals who are eligible and interested in vaccination are encouraged to contact a health care provider who has vaccine on-hand.”
JYNNEOS™ (monkeypox) vaccine is a two-dose vaccine given at least 28 days apart. JYNNEOS™ vaccine can be administered at the same time as other vaccines. JYNNEOS™ vaccine was licensed by the FDA in September of 2019 and is indicated for prevention of smallpox and MPV in adults ages 18 years and older. Yesterday, the U.S. FDA authorized the vaccine for children ages six months and older who are indicated (i.e., close contact) to be vaccinated.
Monkeypox can cause flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that can appear anywhere on the body. “Anyone who has symptoms of monkeypox or who has recently (past few weeks) been in close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox should contact their health care provider to see if they should be tested or vaccinated,” said Kruger.
For more information on monkeypox, please visit health.nd.gov/monkeypox.