• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Monkeypox vaccine available for more high-risk individuals

The eligibility criteria has expanded for high-risk individuals who can receive the monkeypox vaccine.

The vaccine is available at the Forsyth County Department of Public Health by appointment only, for the following individuals:

  • Men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who report any of the following in the last 90 days:
    • Having multiple or anonymous sex partners
    • Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
    • Receiving HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • People who have had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox
Appointments can be made by calling 336-703-3100. Supply is limited, but Forsyth Public Health is anticipating additional vaccine in the coming weeks and for the eligibility criteria to expand as the vaccine supply increases.

Forsyth Public Health has received 460 doses of vaccine to date. There are currently 2,891 cases in the United States and 34 cases in North Carolina. There is no identified case in Forsyth County.

The monkeypox rash may initially appear similar to pimples, blisters, or raised bumps that appear on the face, inside the mouth or other parts of the body, like hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus and may be accompanied by fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The rash may be painful and itchy, and will go through several stages before healing, including scabs.

While early cases of monkeypox are heavily concentrated among men who have sex with men, anyone can contract the virus. Monkeypox is spread through:
  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks and is rarely fatal.

“Anyone can get monkey pox, although many of the individuals recently diagnosed self-identify as being men who have sex with men.” said Forsyth Public Health Director Joshua Swift. “The virus does not spread exclusively through any one gender, social or sexual network.”