Maryland monkeypox vaccinations, testing update announced by health officials

Maryland officials have provided an update on the state's response to monkeypox including vaccination and testing efforts.

The Maryland Department of Health says vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, and additional supply may not be available until the fall.

To date, the federal government has allocated to MDH enough doses to vaccinate 3,202 patients with the two-dose Jynneos vaccine. Based on CDC guidelines, state and local health officials are prioritizing vaccination courses for public health identified close contacts, those with occasional exposure, self-identified partners of cases and affected community members.

READ MORE: DC Monkeypox: District opens new vaccine clinic in Ward 8

Given the limited federal vaccine supply, MDH is focused on ensuring sustained and equitable access to vaccines across all jurisdictions based on data-driven factors. The most doses have been made available to jurisdictions that report the highest incidence of known cases and exposures.

Individuals who believe they are eligible for vaccination should contact their local health department.

Testing for Monkeypox is available through commercial labs and the MDH state public health laboratory. It is not available to purchase off store shelves.

FOX 5 reached out to Montgomery County Health about their Monkeypox response and learned that they are only providing vaccination to "identified close contacts of known exposures (cases)." Those identified contacts come from the Maryland Department of Health." They also stated that in the coming week, they will offer a pre-registration survey for those interested in vaccination when supplies increase (and still prioritize those in the affected groups). 

READ MORE: Monkeypox cases near 200 across DC, Maryland and Virginia

According to Prince Georges County health, they also have "a very limited supply of Monkeypox vaccine, which is provided by the Maryland Department of Health." The vaccine is only "administered to patients who have been identified as close contacts to laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases through contact tracing investigations." The county says that the "Monkeypox vaccine is expected to be available for more groups as more vaccine becomes available."

Human monkeypox is a rare but serious illness predominantly caused by prolonged intimate physical contact.

In May 2022, several clusters of human monkeypox cases were reported in countries that do not normally report human monkeypox, including the United States. Maryland’s first monkeypox case was announced on June 16, 2022.

READ MORE: DC launches monkeypox vaccine pre-registration system

While anyone can get and spread monkeypox, the vast majority of cases have been reported among men who have sex with men.

As of today, the State of Maryland is reporting 129 lab-confirmed monkeypox cases, representing 2.2% of cases nationwide. At present, the majority of cases have been reported in the National Capital Region.

MDH has also made available a fact sheet and frequently asked questions with information about human monkeypox. Earlier this week, the CDC released updated guidance on isolation and prevention practices.