According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox cases are on the rise — there are nearly 12,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. — and the contagious virus isn’t going away anytime soon.
Although most cases have occurred in men who have sex with men, at least eight children across the U.S. have tested positive for monkeypox, and a daycare worker in Illinois was recently diagnosed with the virus. In addition, children under the age of 8 are at a higher risk of severe complications from monkeypox, the CDC says.
This can leave some people, including parents of young children, wondering whether they or their children should get the monkeypox vaccine. Adding to the challenge is that the Jynneos vaccine is limited and not widely available to the general public.
What experts say about who should get the monkeypox vaccine.
First, how does monkeypox spread?
“Monkey pox can be spread to someone by prolonged, close, personal contact, usually through skin-to-skin contact, and by contact with items, fabrics—clothes, sheets, or towels—used by a person with monkey pox. comes into contact with respiratory secretions through kissing and other face-to-face contact,” internal medicine specialist Dr. Henry Ng, director of the Transgender Surgery and Medicine Program and director of the LGBTQ+ Care Center at the Cleveland Clinic told Yahoo Life.
Although monkeypox is not considered an STD (sexually transmitted infection), it is primarily transmitted sexually, Dr. Brandi Manning, an infectious disease physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Yahoo Life. However, “it can be transmitted by any type of prolonged direct contact,” he says.
Who should consider getting the monkeypox vaccine?
Given the current limited supply of the Jynneos vaccine, according to experts, “we are prioritizing those at high risk to get vaccinated first,” Manning says.
Also of note is a smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, which was “developed for use against monkeypox under an expanded access study new drug protocol,” says Ng. Although the single-dose vaccine is widely available, it comes with “more side effects and contraindications,” with the CDC reporting that “many” adverse events are more common in young children who receive the vaccine. According to the CDC, Jynneos has been administered in the U.S. “without any adverse events to date.”
Dr. Pratith Kulkarni, an assistant professor of infectious disease medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life that people who should consider getting the monkeypox vaccine include “men who have multiple or anonymous sex partners.” with “certain health professionals, such as laboratory technicians performing tests for the monkeypox virus.”
Others, including children and adolescents, should consider getting the vaccine if they are “unprotected with another person with active monkeypox,” Kulkarni said, adding, “This recommendation is guided by public health professionals on an individual basis.” .the circumstances faced”.
On August 9 and November 9, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of the Jynneos vaccine, including allowing health care workers to administer the vaccine to those 18 and younger if they are at high risk of contracting monkeypox.
Should a day-old child be vaccinated against rabies?
When students return to school or attend day care, there are concerns that monkeypox can be spread through close contact. But experts say the current threat is low. “Currently, the risk of monkeypox spreading in day care is very low,” Kulkarni said. “There are no broad recommendations to vaccinate day-care children or parents.”
Ng explains that there is currently no monkeypox vaccine for all children. “However, there is a vaccine for children under 18 who are exposed to monkeypox,” says Ng.
Will the vaccine eventually become available to more people?
If the monkeypox infection spreads to other groups, then yes, experts say. As the U.S. supply of the vaccine increases, Manning predicts, and once those vaccinated against monkeypox are vaccinated, “then we can expand vaccinations to other groups, including children.”
Kulkarni agreed, “the number of people recommended for preventive vaccination against monkeypox may increase. It depends on the trajectory of the epidemic in the United States and around the world.
How long will the vaccine be effective?
The Jynneos vaccine series requires two doses given four weeks apart. As with other vaccines, “people are considered fully immunized with the Jynneos vaccine two weeks after receiving the second dose,” says Ng. But it is “uncertain” how long the protection will last, Ng notes.
Why is it difficult to get the vaccine?
Manning says Jynneos vaccine against smallpox, “if we need it.” But he says it’s no longer widely used because “fortunately, smallpox was eradicated long ago with mass vaccination.”
Because smallpox and monkeypox viruses are similar, they belong to a group of viruses called orthopoxviruses – “we can use Ginneos to make a monkeypox vaccine, but it will take time to ramp up production,” explains Manning. “Subcutaneous injection [into the fat layer] for intradermal injection [between the layers of skin] allows for a significant increase in available doses without loss of effectiveness.
The US Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday that it is preparing 442,000 doses of Jynneos vaccine for states to fight against monkeypox.
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