Monkeypox Vaccination Basics

In the U.S., two vaccines (JYNNEOS and ACAM2000) may be used to prevent monkeypox in the U.S. Monkeypox is caused by a virus that is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox. JYNNEOS was developed to protect against both monkeypox and smallpox. ACAM2000 was developed to protect against smallpox. Both vaccines are expected to provide a good level of protection against monkeypox.

Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of monkeypox. Because it’s not known how effective these vaccines will be in the current outbreak, people who are vaccinated are encouraged to continue to protect themselves from infection by avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who has monkeypox.

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

In the current outbreak, you may want to get vaccinated 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.

In addition, you may want to get vaccinated if you are a man who has sex with other men or are a transgender or gender-diverse person who has sex with men and in the past 2 weeks:

  • You have had sex with multiple partners or group sex.
  • You have had sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse).
  • You have had sex at an event, venue, or in an area where monkeypox transmission is occurring.

Note: Information on vaccine availability in your area can be found by contacting your health department.

Keep in mind that:

  • Getting vaccinated as soon as possible after exposure to someone with monkeypox (ideally within 4 days) provides the best chance to prevent the disease or make it less severe.
  • Currently, CDC is not encouraging vaccination against monkeypox for the broader public or for everyone who is sexually active.
  • While vaccine supplies are limited, getting a monkeypox vaccine when you don’t need it could mean that people who do need it can’t get it.
  • If you need help deciding whether you should get vaccinated, talk to a healthcare provider, or contact your local health department. They can help you determine if you should get vaccinated.
  • In addition to getting vaccinated, there are other things you can do to prevent monkeypox.

CDC will update vaccination guidance if new information becomes available.

Where You Can Get Vaccinated

  • 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 where people who engage in behaviors that may increase their chances of getting monkeypox can get vaccinated.
  • In other areas, monkeypox vaccines may only be available from the health department.
  • Contact your local health department to see what the vaccination options are in your community.

Vaccine Cost

  • The monkeypox vaccines are free. However, you could be charged an administration fee in certain medical settings. 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).

Vaccine Distribution

Monkeypox Vaccine Q+A
Video Screenshot: 7 Questions on Monkeypox Vaccines with Dr. Daskalakis
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7 Questions on Monkeypox Vaccines with Dr. Daskalakis

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  • 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.
  • On July 15, 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 will increase the overall number of doses available by up to 5 times while providing similar immune response. Read the White House fact sheet on this alternative dosing regimen.
  • Read the overall White House National Monkeypox Vaccine Strategy.
Approved Vaccines

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.