Monkeypox Vaccination Basics
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus that is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox. In the United States, two vaccines (JYNNEOS and ACAM2000) may be used to prevent the spread of monkeypox. Both vaccines are expected to provide a good level of protection against monkeypox. The main vaccine being used against monkeypox during the 2022 monkeypox outbreak is JYNNEOS.
JYNNEOS is a 2-dose vaccine. It was developed to protect against both monkeypox and smallpox. The vaccine may be given to children and adults who are at high risk for monkeypox. The second dose of JYNNEOS should be given 4 weeks after the first dose. The highest level of protection is expected to be reached 14 days after the second dose of the JYNNEOS vaccine.
Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of monkeypox. Because there are limitations in our knowledge about the effectiveness of these vaccines, people who are vaccinated are encouraged to continue to protect themselves. Even after they are vaccinated, people should avoid close, skin-to-skin or intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox.
Who May Get Vaccinated
In the current outbreak, there are two groups of people who may get vaccinated: 1) people who have already been exposed to mpox, and 2) people who might be exposed in the future. Contact your local health department to find out if you may get vaccinated and where vaccine is available in your area.
You might have already been exposed to monkeypox if:
- You have been identified as a close contact of someone with monkeypox
- You learn that one of your sex partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
- You are a gay, bisexual, or other man who has had sex with men, or you are a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-diverse person, and in the past 2 weeks you have had:
- Sex with multiple partners or group sex
- Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse)
- Sex at an event, venue, or in an area where monkeypox transmission is occurring
You might be exposed to monkeypox in the future, if:
- You are a gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men, or you are a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-diverse person, and any of the following:
- A new diagnosis of one or more sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis.
- More than one sex partner.
- You are a person who any of the following:
- Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse)
- Sex at an event, venue, or in an area where monkeypox transmission is occurring.
- You are a person whose sexual partner identifies with any of the above scenarios that might expose them to monkeypox.
- You are a person who anticipates experiencing any of the above scenarios.
- You are a person in certain occupational exposure risk groups*
*People at risk for occupational exposure to orthopoxviruses include research laboratory personnel working with orthopoxviruses, clinical laboratory personnel performing diagnostic testing for orthopoxviruses, and orthopoxvirus and health care worker response teams designated by appropriate public health and antiterror authorities. (see ACIP recommendations).
Note: Information on vaccine availability in your area can be found by contacting your health department.
Keep in mind that:
- Getting vaccinated before you are exposed to monkeypox provides the best chance to prevent disease. For best protection, 2 doses of JYNNEOS vaccine spaced 4 weeks apart are recommended.
- If you have already been exposed, getting vaccinated as soon as possible after exposure to someone with monkeypox (ideally within 4 days) may help prevent the disease or make it less severe.
- If you were exposed 4-14 days ago, you may still consider getting vaccinated, but it might be less protective.
- If you were exposed more than 14 days ago, it may still be beneficial to get vaccinated. Ask your healthcare provider if vaccination is right for you.
- If you have signs or symptoms of monkeypox, or were diagnosed with monkeypox, or recovered from monkeypox, vaccination is not likely to provide benefit. Monkeypox infection likely gives you enough protection from future monkeypox disease.
- If you received the first dose of the vaccine and then got monkeypox, you do not need to get the second dose at this time because the infection likely gives you enough additional protection from future monkeypox disease.
- Currently, CDC is not encouraging vaccination against monkeypox for the broader public or for everyone who is sexually active.
- If you are eligible to get the vaccine in the skin in your forearm, but prefer a more discreet location, your provider can now give you your monkeypox shot in either the skin over your shoulder blade, or the skin over your shoulder muscle.
- If you are under age 18 or you have ever had keloid scars (thick, raised scars), ask for the vaccine to be given to you “subcutaneously”. This means that the vaccine will be injected in the fat layer underneath the skin on the back of your upper arm (triceps).
- If you need help deciding whether you should get vaccinated, talk to a healthcare provider or contact your local health department.
- In addition to getting vaccinated, there are other things you can doto prevent monkeypox.
- Learn more about receiving the JYNNEOS vaccine with other vaccines.
CDC will update vaccination guidance as new information becomes available
- In some large cities, monkeypox vaccines may be available at the health department, public health clinics, hospitals, or even at large social gatherings or venues.
- In other areas, monkeypox vaccines may only be available from the health department.
- Contact your local health departmentto see what the vaccination options are in your community.
- Building Health Online Communities (BHOC) has a monkeypox vaccine locator tool. This tool is not affiliated with CDC but can help you find locations that provide the monkeypox vaccines near you.
- Monkeypox vaccines are free. Providers must give you the vaccine regardless of your ability to pay the administration fee.
- The providers may bill a program or plan that covers the monkeypox vaccine administration fee (like your private insurance or Medicare/Medicaid).
7 Questions on Monkeypox Vaccines with Dr. Daskalakis
CDC’s Dr. Demetre Daskalakis explains how JYNNEOS can be delivered in a way that allows more people to get vaccinated with existing supplies.
Video Length: 00:02:52
- The U.S. government is working to expand vaccine access quickly, effectively, and equitably.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been distributing JYNNEOS vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile since May 2022.
- In July 2022, the U.S. government ordered an additional 2.5 million vials of JYNNEOS vaccine from the manufacturer.
- On August 9, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization allowing healthcare providers to administer a smaller dose of JYNNEOS into the skin layers of the forearm (like a tuberculosis skin test) as the preferred option to the standard dose usually given in the upper arm. This ability to use a smaller dose increased the overall number of doses available by up to 5 times while providing similar immune response. Read on this alternative dosing regimen.
- On September 28, 2022, the White House announced the expansion of the National Monkeypox Vaccine Strategy to offer vaccine to some people who might be exposed to monkeypox in the future. This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis.
- Read the overall White House National Monkeypox Vaccine Strategy.
- Learn more information about the JYNNEOS vaccine
JYNNEOS vaccine is approved for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox. It is the primary vaccine being used in the U.S. during this outbreak. ACAM2000 is an alternative to the JYNNEOS vaccine. It has been shown to have more frequent side effects than JYNNEOS and isn’t recommended for people with weakened immune systems.