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Michiganders exposed to monkeypox or with suspected exposure urged to contact their local health department about vaccination

MDHHS issues vaccine guidance to ensure distribution to individuals at highest risk

LANSING, Mich. – To ensure those at highest risk from severe monkeypox (MPV) disease have access to vaccine, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued vaccine administration guidance and is urging individuals who have been exposed to MPV or suspect they have been exposed to the virus to contact their local health department about vaccination.

Antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox can be used to prevent and treat MPV infections.

“Although the vaccine supply is limited, we are striving to utilize all doses of vaccine as soon as they become available to help mitigate spread,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “We have issued guidance to our local health department partners to help ensure those most at risk from MPV are prioritized. Michiganders who know they have been exposed to MPV or suspect they have been exposed should contact their local health department about getting vaccinated.”

Michigan is using all available vaccine as first doses during its initial allocations. Second doses will be provided when more vaccine is available. The vaccine strategy will continually evolve in response to the outbreak and the availability of vaccine. The current MDHHS vaccine administration guidance includes the following strategies:

  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) – Vaccinating individuals following intermediate or high-risk exposure to MPV to prevent illness.
  • Expanded Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP++) – Vaccinating individuals with risk behaviors in geographies, settings, events or venues with known MPV transmission in the last 14 days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the vaccine be given for PEP within four days from the date of exposure for the best chance to prevent onset of the disease. If given between four and 14 days after the date of exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms of disease but may not prevent MPV.

Michigan has received more than 3,800 doses of JYNNEOS vaccine. Vaccine was distributed to hubs that will redistribute vaccines to other areas of the state as needed. Hubs are located in the City of Detroit and Oakland, Washtenaw, Kent, Kalamazoo, Ingham, Genesee and Grand Traverse counties. MDHHS used epidemiological data, the population size of at-risk groups and geographic dispersion to determine vaccine pre-deployment locations.

Local health departments may initiate contact with eligible individuals who have been identified as close contacts to a MPV case about receiving the vaccine. If you know or suspect you have had contact with someone with MPV please contact your local health department for more information. Treatments for MPV cases are currently available through the Strategic National Stockpile. Clinicians evaluating MPV patients should be aware of the clinical considerations and process of requesting TPOXX (Tecovirimat) for their patients.

MPV is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. MPV belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus, which also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine) and cowpox virus. While both diseases may have similar presentation, MPV is not related to chickenpox.

MPV can spread to anyone through close, personal often skin-to-skin contact including:

  • Direct contact with MPV rash, scabs or body fluids from a person with MPV. It is believed this is currently the most common way that MPV is spreading in the U.S.
  • Through contact with someone with MPV during common activities such as sex, hugging, massaging, kissing and prolonged face-to-face contact
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with MPV.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

When interacting with other people including groups at large events consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur at the event you plan to attend. If you feel sick or have a rash, do not attend any gathering and see a health care provider.

More information is available on the CDC website.

Persons experiencing MPV symptoms should contact a health care provider for evaluation. CDC is urging health care providers in the United States to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with MPV, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for MPV and regardless of gender or sexual orientation. While many of those affected in the current global outbreaks are men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has MPV can get the illness.

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Michigan monkeypox vaccine strategy