Who should receive the monkeypox vaccine? What to know as a mass. limiting shots to only one dose

The change in strategy means nearly doubling the number of people who can be vaccinated amid rising disease numbers, said Dr. Paul Biddinger, Mass. Brigham General Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness, which advises the state health department. As of last week, Massachusetts had 157 cases of monkeypox, 42 of which were detected between July 28 and August. 3.

A single dose is “still effective in reducing transmission,” he said. “There are reports that after one dose, the immune response begins to subside after two years. of course late [the second dose] “A couple of months is unlikely to have much clinical significance,” Biddinger said.

Dr. Cassandra Pierre, an associate hospital epidemiologist and medical director of public health programs at Boston Medical Center, said she agrees with the decision, although she is skeptical of the data on how long a single dose of immunity lasts.

“We’re really trying to sprint to prevent this infection from becoming endemic,” he said.

State health officials say a single dose provides significant, rapid protection against monkeypox infection, while a second dose provides long-term immunity, even if given several months later.

The new rules make one important exception. Second doses may be given to people with compromised immune systems, such as recent recipients of HIV chemotherapy or those with unrelieved pain.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration on Tuesday granted an extension Provide even more by injecting one-fifth of the dose between the layers of the skin, rather than into the subcutaneous fat as at present. One study found that a low-dose intradermal injection produced an immune response similar to the standard method. But health workers may need to be trained in a new technique.

All Ginneos doses are distributed through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Massachusetts has received several shipments since July 5 with 16,251 doses, but doesn’t expect more until the fall. As of August. 3, a total of 5,875 doses were administered in the state.

Here are answers to common questions about the monkeypox vaccine.

Who is eligible to receive the vaccine?

Anyone who lives or works in Massachusetts and has been in contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox is eligible to participate. Also eligible are those who have had sex with a person diagnosed with monkeypox in the past 14 days or who have had multiple sexual partners in an area where smallpox has been reported.

Monkeypox is spread among men who have sex with men, but anyone can catch it and spread it.

For more information, visit the state website: mass.gov/info-details/monkeypox-vaccination.

Where can people get the vaccine?

The state is distributing the vaccine in 14 clinics, you need to make an appointment for vaccination. Clinics are listed here: mass.gov/info-details/monkeypox-vaccination#how-to-obtain-vaccine-.

Can these clinics keep up with demand? And will they reach everyone who needs the vaccine?

Some struggle more than others.

Dr. Genevieve Daftari, medical director of Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester, says staffing is a big problem. “We were able to have three four-hour sessions every week,” he said. Daftary hopes to open more hours by hiring part-time nurses through the agency.

Dr. Mireya A. Wessolossky, medical director of the Worcester AIDS Project, said calls for the vaccine “are increasing as we speak.”

With 20 hours a week of vaccination appointments, Wessolosky said, “We’re scheduled through September. … We will see how we can add more hours to meet the demand.

According to Biddinger, Mass. General Brigham was able to vaccinate every eligible person who sought the shot, but he believed he was eligible for the vaccine but had not received it.

Boston Medical Center’s waiting list for monkeypox vaccine has shrunk from 800 to 100 and will soon drop to zero, Pierre said, now that the clinic is fully staffed. “We’re meeting the demand,” he said.

But he worries that there are many people who don’t realize they’re at risk or don’t have access to the health care system.

Does the smallpox vaccine work against monkeypox?

It will happen, but “it’s much harder to deliver,” Biddinger said. The vaccine contains a replicating virus, so people administering it and anyone receiving it should not be around people with weakened immune systems or other illnesses, he said.

Known as ACAM2000, the vaccine is being held in a strategic national stockpile in case smallpox is used as a biological weapon. Recommended for military personnel and laboratory workers who may be exposed to viruses. Biddinger said he was not aware of anyone using the smallpox vaccine to treat monkeypox.

As for people who were vaccinated against smallpox as children, Biddinger said it’s not clear whether they are immune to monkeypox, but they can protect against severe disease.

Can monkeypox be controlled or is it too late?

“I don’t think we know yet,” Biddinger said. “It is reassuring that the disease continues to be transmitted in ways that we knew before this epidemic.” — primarily through close skin-to-skin contact. With improved knowledge about how to avoid infection and increased vaccine availability in the fall and winter, “I’m hopeful that we can get it under control, but right now the numbers are not in the right direction,” he said.

Worcester AIDS Project spokesman Wessolossky expressed optimism. “I think we will get it [under control],” he said. Last week’s declaration of a public health emergency will ease access to a drug called TPOXX that shortens the duration of illness and infections.

Pierre from Boston Medical Center was on the fence. “I’m hopeful,” he said, “but I’m still worried.”

Felice J. Freyer can be reached at felice.freyer@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @felicejfreyer.

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