Marylanders can now get the monkeypox vaccine if they’ve had multiple sexual partners or if one of their sexual partners has been exposed to the disease in the last two weeks, according to a Thursday news release from the Maryland Department of Health.
The eligible demographic now includes Marylanders who are at a high risk of contracting the disease, the release said.
Previously, the state health department recommended the vaccine only to people who may have been exposed to monkeypox in the past two weeks.
Maryland Department of Health Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau Director Peter DeMartino said vaccination plays a critical role in the state’s response to the monkeypox outbreak in the news release.
“The new eligibility criteria align with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and take advantage of the improved supply of the JYNNEOS vaccine,” DeMartino said.
As of Sept. 16, the state has seen at toal of 609 reported cases of monkeypox. Prince George’s County has had the most monkeypox infections in Maryland with about 35 percent of the state’s cases.
Prince George’s County is currently administering vaccines to individuals who have been in close contact with infected individuals, health care workers who may have been exposed at work and people who have had multiple sexual parters in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox cases in the past two weeks.
The JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine is given in two doses, 28 days apart. The state has received more than 14,000 vials of the JYNNEOS vaccine from the federal government. More than 5,000 Marylanders have been vaccinated at 24 local health departments.
Anyone who has already pre-registered for the vaccine and now meets the expanded eligibility criteria will be contacted, the release said. More than 2,800 Marylanders are pre-registered for vaccination.