DHEC Using New Method To Give Monkeypox Vaccinations

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will begin using a new method to give monkeypox (MPX) vaccinations that will increase the number of doses available. In addition, DHEC is expanding the criteria for those eligible to get vaccinated. Both changes will take effect immediately.
The new method for administering MPX vaccinations is a strategy authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) that calls for giving intradermal shots just under the first layer of skin rather than subcutaneous shots, which go into the fat layer farther below the skin. According to the CDC, using the intradermal method to administer the JYNNEOS vaccine can result in up to five times the number of doses per vial than the subcutaneous method with the same level of protection. That means more people can be vaccinated with the limited national vaccine supply.
“With vaccine supply being limited nationally, it is important that we find ways to meet the needs and demands of those at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “That not only includes adopting the new method of delivery identified by the CDC, but it also includes expanding the criteria to allow more people to be eligible. As vaccine availability increases, we will continue to review criteria to get more people protected from this disease.”
South Carolina has expanded its eligibility list to include:
• Men who have sex with men (MSM), including gay or bisexual men, transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, who have had either a sexually transmitted infection in the last 90 days or multiple sex partners in the last 90 days
• Any person receiving HIV PrEP treatment
The vaccine is not recommended for the general public or healthcare workers at this time. Residents can call the DHEC CareLine (855) 472-3432 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to find out if they are eligible to schedule an appointment.
“Cases are slowly beginning to increase, and we encourage people in groups shown to be at increased risk to call us to be vaccinated,” Bell added.
MPX, a reportable condition in South Carolina, is not easily transmitted from person to person. It can be spread through prolonged face-to-face contact, skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or bodily fluids as well as during intimate contact such as sex, kissing, hugging, and touching fabrics and objects used by a person with MPX.
If you are concerned that you have been exposed to someone with monkeypox infection or have a new, unusual rash, please seek medical attention from your usual healthcare provider, visit an urgent care center, or call your local health department.
Though the risk to the general population remains low, we encourage the public to inform themselves about monkeypox through reliable sources, including the DHEC website and the CDC website.

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