Mississippi expands eligibility for monkeypox vaccine

Published 2:55 pm Friday, September 9, 2022

JACKSON, Miss.  – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) announces expanded eligibility for those recommended to receive the monkeypox vaccine. The updated eligibility criteria are intended to provide broader access to individuals currently identified at highest risk for infection.

As of September 8, there have been 45 reported monkeypox cases in Mississippi. While anyone exposed to a person with monkeypox is at risk for infection,  most cases in Mississippi are among gay, bisexual men and others who identify as men who have sex with men.

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Of the total cases reported in Mississippi, 93 percent identify as male, 93 percent are African Americans, 67 percent are living with HIV, and the median age is 31.

Individuals 18 years or older may be eligible for vaccination if they:

• Have been notified or are aware of close, intimate or sexual contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, OR

• Identify as gay, bisexual, or as other men who have sex with men, or are transgender individuals, and

• Have multiple or anonymous sex partners, OR

• Attend events or venues where monkeypox may be transmitted (for example, by skin-to-skin contact or sex on-site), OR

• Are living with HIV, OR

• Have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the prior 90 days.

Vaccination appointments are available to those who meet the above criteria. 

If you think you are high risk based on this eligibility, don’t wait, take action and get vaccinated now.

The vaccine, a two-dose series, is available at nine designated county health department clinics. Please call the Monkeypox Call Center at 1-877-978-6453 to determine your eligibility and to make a vaccination appointment at one of the participating health department clinics. Appointments can only be made through the call center.

If you are at risk for monkeypox, you can help prevent infection by avoiding close skin-to-skin or intimate contact with people who may be infected, and you should be vaccinated if you are eligible.

If you develop a new or unexplained rash, especially if you have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox, isolate at home and contact your healthcare provider for testing. For more information on monkeypox, visit HealthyMS.com/monkeypox.

Follow MSDH by email and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.