North Dakota Expands Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility; 2 cases now identified in the state | Health
North Dakota health officials are expanding eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine after receiving more doses and updated guidelines from the federal government.
Men who have sex with other men are now eligible, the state health department announced Monday. This group makes up the majority of people who have fallen ill, according to federal health officials, although they stress that the virus can infect anyone.
The state health department had previously reserved its small amount of vaccine for people identified as close contacts of a positive case of monkeypox.
Nearly 32,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported worldwide in this year’s outbreak, including 9,500 in the United States, according federal centers for disease control and prevention.
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North Dakota has had two cases. Both were in the eastern part of the state.
“The risk to the public is low at this time,” said state medical services section chief Kirby Kruger.
South Dakota and Montana also had two confirmed cases each; Minnesota has had 66 documented cases.
Monkeypox is spread through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including hugs, kisses and sex, according to the CDC. It can also spread through bedding and towels. Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash.
In the United States, no one has died from the disease, but 12 deaths have been reported in other countries, according to federal data.
The monkeypox vaccine has been in limited supply in the United States. North Dakota received 275 doses. The Department of Health expected additional doses on Monday, according to state immunization director Molly Howell. She didn’t say how many.
People identified as close contacts of the monkeypox cases continue to be eligible for vaccination and are a high priority for the state, according to the Department of Health.
“In order to prevent an outbreak of monkeypox in North Dakota, it is important that those who are eligible for vaccination are vaccinated quickly,” Howell said. “People who are eligible and interested in vaccination are encouraged to contact a healthcare provider who has the vaccine on hand.”
People can go to https://www.health.nd.gov/monkeypoxvaccinelocator to find the nearest vaccine supplier. Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health and Sanford Health Bismarck are among the listed providers. Public health supply is limited, according to the website.
There were 105 initial doses of monkeypox vaccine administered in the state, including 10 in Burleigh County, according to the state. monkeypax dashboard. The vaccine is given in two doses, four weeks apart.
The United States Food and Drug Administration recently announced a change in administration of the monkeypox vaccine to maximize supply. Doctors and others are using a shallower injection under the skin that only requires a fifth of the vaccine volume but produced a similar immune response in one study, according to the Department of Health.