Do I Need the Monkeypox Vaccine?   

Do I Need the Monkeypox Vaccine?

Doctor with vial of vaccine for Monkeypox disease.

August 02, 2022

Clinical Contributors to this story:
Roman Tuma, M.D.

With monkeypox cases on the rise across the U.S., many are wondering how they can protect themselves. According to the CDC, there are two vaccine options available in the United States: JYNNEOS and ACAM2000. However, currently there are only certain groups of people being encouraged to get vaccinated against monkeypox.

Who should get the vaccine? 

The CDC has provided a list of guidelines to determine who should seek vaccination against monkeypox. These parameters include:

  • People who have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox, as identified by public health officials
  • People who have been in situations where they could have been exposed:
    • Those with a sexual partner within the past two weeks who has been diagnosed with monkeypox 
    • Those who live in an area with confirmed cases of monkeypox and have had multiple sexual partners within that area in the past two weeks
  • People who work in a setting where they can be exposed to orthopoxvirus:
    • Laboratory workers who provide orthopoxvirus testing services or come into contact with animals or cultures with orthopox viruses
    • Some designated people in health care or public health officials

The JYNNEOS vaccine is currently only administered to individuals in certain situations such as known exposed contacts of those with monkeypox or presumed contacts who meet the CDC’s vaccine criteria. JYNNEOS is prioritized for individuals who cannot get ACAM2000 due to other conditions. Those with allergies to components of JYNNEOS such as gentamicin, ciprofloxacin, and egg protein should not get it.  

ACAM2000 is readily available, however, there are some groups who are discouraged from receiving this vaccine due to certain health conditions including a weaker immune system, skin conditions such as eczema or pregnancy.

What is the monkeypox vaccine timeline?

If you are someone who has been recommended for vaccination, the two vaccines have different time periods before you can be considered fully vaccinated against monkeypox. 

The JYNNEOS vaccine requires two shots that occur 28 days apart. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second shot.

The ACAM2000 vaccine requires one shot. You are considered fully vaccinated four weeks after receiving the vaccine. 

Are there side effects of the vaccines? 

The CDC shares common side effects for the vaccines include: 

JYNNEOS Side Effects

  • Injection site reactions such as pain, swelling and redness

ACAM2000 Side Effects

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Complications from inadvertent inoculation: when the virus being vaccinated against is transferred from a vaccination site to a second location on the vaccinated person or to a close contact

How long does the vaccine protection last?

According to the CDC, booster doses for the monkeypox vaccine are recommended every two to ten years for those who have continued risk of exposure to any orthopoxvirus. 

Where can I get vaccinated?

Currently only local and state health departments are distributing the vaccines after someone is determined to be qualified to receive one. It is likely that vaccination access will be expanded in the future as a larger supply of vaccines becomes available.

The New Jersey Department of Health is encouraging people to report any confirmed or suspected cases immediately. Those concerned about a possible monkeypox infection should talk to their health care provider and their local health department to make a plan for their next steps in testing, vaccination and treatment.

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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