Georgia had ordered the monkeypox vaccine, known by the brand name Jynneos, for “fewer than 10 people” in the state, but more vaccine is expected to be allocated to the state, DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jynneos is a vaccine licensed in the U.S. in 2019 that prevents both smallpox and monkeypox. The vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox disease up to four days after exposure and may reduce the severity of symptoms if given up to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
Georgia’s first doses of the two-dose vaccine have already been administered to people considered at high risk of exposure, including lab workers, physicians, and those considered a “high-risk contact” to someone infected with the virus, according to DPH.
So far, the government has deployed over 9,000 doses of vaccine. U.S. officials on Tuesday said they are increasing the amount of Jynneos vaccine they are making available, allocating 56,000 doses immediately and about 240,000 more over the coming weeks. They promised more than 1 million more over the coming months.
DPH was expecting to find out how many of these doses will be allocated for Georgia by the end of Wednesday. The state agency said the increased availability of and access to vaccines and testing will help the agency protect those at high risk of infection and respond to outbreaks.
Until now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that vaccines be given after exposure to people whom health officials identify as close personal contacts of cases. But on Tuesday, CDC officials say they are expanding the recommendation to people who were never identified as a contact of a positive case, but may realize on their own that they may have been exposed.
That can include men who have sex with men who have recently had multiple sex partners in a venue where there was known to be monkeypox or in an area where monkeypox is spreading.
“It’s almost like we’re expanding the definition of who a contact might be,” said the CDC’s Jennifer McQuiston. If people have been to a party or other place where monkeypox has been known to spread “we recommend they come in for a vaccine,” she said.
The incubation period for monkeypox — the time from infection to symptoms — is usually seven to 14 days but can range from five to 21 days.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. had identified 306 cases in 27 states and the District of Columbia. More than 4,700 cases have been found in more than 40 other countries outside the areas of Africa where the virus is endemic.
Georgia Health officials have said the overall risk to the general public is low, and nothing like the coronavirus. It does not usually spread easily among people.
Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization ruled on Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus but expressed concern about the outbreak and rapid spread of the disease.
“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said in a statement.
—The Associated Press contributed to this article.
— Monkeypox is a viral disease that is rarely fatal. It is similar to smallpox but less contagious and less severe.
— Monkeypox can be spread during intimate contact between people, including through sex, kissing, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.
— Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, back pain, muscle aches and low energy. The virus can go on to cause rash and lesions.
— The virus enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, the eyes, nose, and mouth
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention