Monkeypox Vaccines to be Available Through the Wyoming Department of Health
The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) announced in a press release that it has vaccines for those with monkeypox which will be available on a limited and targeted basis across the state.
Vaccinations will begin the week of August 15.
Wyoming is currently the only state in the country that has not yet identified any cases of monkeypox.
There are currently 8,934 cases of monkeypox across the U.S., with 78 in Colorado, 48 in Utah, 14 in Nebraska, seven in Idaho, and one in both South Dakota and Montana.
According to the Centers for Disease Control's website, monkeypox is spread in various ways, including to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, sexual contact, and a pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus.
The release states that monkeypox is related to smallpox with similar but milder symptoms, but it is not related to chickenpox.
Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state health officer and state epidemiologist with the WDH, said monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.
"This disease is usually characterized by a rash and can also involve other symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness...Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal contact," Harrist said. “Fortunately, it does not spread nearly as easily as do familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19."
Harrist said in the release that they recommend anyone who has been exposed to monkeypox or is likely to get the virus get vaccinated, and that "While anyone can get monkeypox, vaccine eligibility is limited at this point to those people who are at highest risk due to limited supplies."
The U.S. currently has about 1.1 million doses of the vaccine on hand, with more shipments planned in the coming months, along with a possible new method of injecting the vaccine that uses only one-fifth of a dose to be able to stretch out the current supply.
According to the release, adults eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if they live or work in Wyoming are:
- Men who have sex with men and who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last year.
- Partners of men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last year.
- Transgender and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with multiple or anonymous sexual partners who are male or male assigned at birth within the past year.
- Sex workers (of any sex).
Eligible adults interested in vaccination appointments should contact the public health office in their area or call the WDH at 307-777-6004 for help finding the closest local public health office.
While available monkeypox vaccine doses are being provided by the federal government through the state at no charge, a small administration fee may be charged,
Kim Deti, public information officer with the WDH, said in an email that the administrative fee would vary by county, "is expected to be reasonable," and counties have been asked not to charge people who don't have insurance or can't afford the fee.
Deti said they expect to have around 180 doses available by next week and will order more in the coming weeks.
Wyoming-related information and updates about monkeypox can be found on the WDH's website.