More people are now eligible to get the monkeypox vaccine in DC

D.C. has expanded the criteria for who can get the monkeypox vaccine as the District continues to have the most cases per capita in the country.

Anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, who has had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks is eligible to get a shot, D.C. Health announced Saturday.

Vaccines are also now available to non-D.C. residents who either work or attend a college in the District. Previously monkeypox vaccinations were only open to D.C. residents.

Recipients still must be 18 or older.

As of Saturday morning, CDC data shows 328 cases of monkeypox in the District.

According to D.C. Health, the highest risk population to contract the virus continues to be gay or bisexual men and transgender men and women.

Others who remain eligible for the vaccine are sex workers or staff of businesses where sexual activity occurs, such bath houses, saunas and sex clubs.

According to data released by the health department, as of Aug. 7, 98.7% of cases in the city were males. Only one female had contracted monkeypox. The same data showed a breakdown of cases by race: 53% of known cases were white and 35% were Black.  

Ward One and Ward Two also saw the most cases of monkeypox with just over 21% of cases each. The next highest case count was Ward Five with 13.6% of cases.

Although the majority of cases do not require hospitalization, it does cause flu like symptoms (fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes), as well as a rash and lesions on the skin and is extremely uncomfortable and highly contagious.

Monkeypox can be transmitted through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids. It can spread during through sex, kissing, and hugging but also by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or when a person touches fabrics, such as bedding and towels, used by a person with monkeypox.

D.C. Health has received approximately 21,755 doses of the JYENNOS vaccine and administered more than 15,671 doses through monkeypox clinics.

Last month, the D.C. health department decided to temporarily give people just one dose of the vaccine instead of two in an effort to get the monkeypox vaccine out to as many residents as possible. Typically, the two shots are given roughly 28 days apart. But some studies have shown the first dose is effective for six months.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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