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How Can You Get Vaccinated for Monkeypox?

monkeypox vaccination appointment

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared monkeypox a public health emergency last week. Amid a vaccine supply shortage, health authorities are exploring new strategies to get as many at-risk communities vaccinated as possible.

The HHS has allocated 1.1 million doses to states and jurisdictions and has promised to accelerate the delivery of the doses.

Read on to learn if you’re eligible for the monkeypox vaccines and how you can schedule an appointment.

What Is the Monkeypox Vaccine?

The preferred monkeypox vaccine is called Jynneos, a two-dose vaccine approved for the prevention of smallpox or monkeypox in high-risk adults.

Who Is Eligible for the Monkeypox Vaccine?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Jynneos vaccine is recommended for the following individuals who are 18 and older:

  • People identified as a contact of someone who has monkeypox through case investigations, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments
  • People who know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days with known monkeypox

The CDC also recommends getting vaccinated within four days from the date of your exposure for the best chance to prevent monkeypox. If you get vaccinated between four and 14 days after exposure, vaccination may not prevent the disease but it would reduce the symptoms.

Some states and localities are offering the Jynneos vaccine for residents who are at higher risk of the disease. New York City was the first to expand its vaccination eligibility to include “all gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (cisgender or transgender) ages 18 and older who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days.”

If you’re unsure about your eligibility, check your state or local health department’s website for more guidance.

For now, the CDC is recommending the vaccine for laboratory personnel working with orthopoxviruses (which include smallpox and monkeypox), either for research or for diagnostic testing for orthopoxviruses, and for healthcare workers who are part of public health response teams. Other clinicians are not currently being advised to get the vaccine.

Where Can You Get Vaccinated?

Many local health departments allow residents to schedule a monkeypox vaccine appointment online or by phone. In New York City, you can sign up for your first dose on this website. For those living in Chicago, you can check which health centers have the vaccines available here. In Philadelphia, the city government has distributed the shots to local clinics such as Mazzoni Center and PennMedicine.

Grant Roth, MPH, a public health advocate, created a Google document with a crowdsourced list of where monkeypox vaccinations are provided in various cities and counties. While the vaccine supply remains scarce, this list might help you locate a clinic or a vaccine site in your area.

Some cities offer text alerts that will tell people when appointment slots open up and other details about the vaccine rollout. In New York City, for example, you can sign up for monkeypox vaccine alerts by texting “MONKEYPOX” (“MONKEYPOXESP” for Spanish) to 692-692.

monkeypox text alert

After getting your first shot, you may experience mild side effects, such as injection-site redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches.

Do You Need a Second Shot?

According to the CDC, you will achieve maximum protection against monkeypox at about 14 days after the second dose of Jynneos.

Ideally, you should receive the second shot 28 days after your first one, per the CDC’s recommendation. However, you may not be able to sign up for your second shot immediately, depending on your state's supply.

Still, experts say you will have immunity from one dose of the Jynneos vaccine. The idea of a booster shot is that it will help rev up your immune response, whether it’s given one month after the first shot or later.

According to the CDC, vaccine administrators may stretch the interval of the two doses to 35 days if needed. If delays persist, the shot should simply be administered as soon as possible.

What Can You Do If You Can’t Get an Appointment?

If you don’t have access to a vaccine appointment right away, remember that monkeypox cases are still proportionally low in the United States. The White House estimates that 1.6 million people—less than 1% of the U.S. population—are at high risk for monkeypox.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is testing whether administering a one-fifth dose of Jynneos could help stretch the supply, STAT reported.

As the HHS ramps up the monkeypox vaccine supply in the coming months, you may want to stay informed about how and when to get a vaccine in your locality by checking your health department’s updates.

What This Means For You

If you have been exposed to monkeypox in the last 14 days, you are likely eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine in your area. Check with your local health department for updates on eligibility and scheduling.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Considerations for monkeypox vaccination.

  2. Rao AK, Petersen BW, Whitehill F, et al. Use of JYNNEOS (smallpox and monkeypox vaccine, live, nonreplicating) for preexposure vaccination of persons at risk for occupational exposure to orthopoxviruses: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71(22):734-742. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7122e1

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Monkeypox: 2022 U.S. map & case count.

  4. The White House. Fact sheet: Biden-Harris administration's monkeypox outbreak response.

By Claire Wolters
Claire Wolters is a Philly-based reporter covering health news for Verywell. She is most passionate about stories that cover real issues and spark change.