DE to Expand Monkeypox Vaccinations; Unveils New Public Health Alert Website
There are now 25 monkeypox cases in Delaware – a low number compared to neighboring states. Public Health officials continue to ensure the most at-risk persons are vaccinated against the virus. Vaccinations are available at Beebe Healthcare and DPH clinics – appointments are needed. A new Public Health Alert website is now available which will highlight public health issues of elevated concern – including monkeypox, Covid-19 and the flu.
Starting Sept. 5, DPH will expand access to the MPX vaccine to those who are immunocompromised. Conditions may include, but are not necessarily limited to: those with cancer, solid organ or stem cell transplants, those taking immunosuppressive therapy, and individuals with autoimmune disease.
Eligible persons also can be vaccinated at the following locations:
- Beebe Healthcare: Individuals can schedule an appointment at beebehealthcare.org/online-scheduling. Walk-ins will not be accepted.
- DPH clinics: Individuals should call the MPX hotline at 866-408-1899 for a screening evaluation. Walk-ins at DPH clinics will not be accepted. Monkeypox vaccinations at DPH clinics will continue to prioritize individuals at highest risk after a DPH evaluation: persons known or presumed to be exposed to someone with MPX in the last 14 days, and certain individuals who have sex with men and who have had multiple sex partners within the past 14 days. As a result, appointments may need to be scheduled a few days out.
Vaccines are available to those confirmed to have been exposed, or who are at higher risk of being exposed to the virus, as well as the immunocompromised, and those engaging in high-risk activities, including sexual practices, that increase exposure to MPX, such as:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple, or any, anonymous sexual partners in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes meeting partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
- Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men
- Sex workers (of any sexual orientation/gender)
- Staff (of any sexual orientation/gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)
- Eligibility may be determined by the vaccinating provider and may include (but are not necessarily limited to): those with cancer, solid organ or stem cell transplants, those taking immunosuppressive therapy, and individuals with autoimmune disease.
Individuals should be aware that the vaccine, a two-dose series given 28 days apart, is not considered effective until two weeks after the second dose. Those at higher risk should continue to use preventive measures and reduce engaging in any high-risk behaviors until that time.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of MPX are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. Most people who contract MPX will develop a rash, and some will develop flu-like symptoms beforehand. The flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they usually will develop a rash one to four days later.
If you suspect you are experiencing any symptoms associated with MPX you should immediately:
- Contact your health care provider and discuss your symptoms and concerns.
- Self-isolate until all lesions have resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
- Avoid being intimate with others.
- Make a list of your close and intimate contacts in the last 21 days.
Currently, while there is no specific treatment for MPX, antivirals can be prescribed, though they are not always needed. To learn more information about monkeypox, please visit de.gov/monkeypox. DPH began posting MPX case and vaccine data on the website last week.
DPH launched a hotline for individuals with questions or concerns about MPX. The hotline number is 866-408-1899and is operational Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (It will be closed this Monday because of the Labor Day holiday.) Questions may also be emailed to DPHCall@delaware.gov. Both the hotline number and email address share staff with the COVID-19 Call Center. To learn more about MPX prevention programs and resources, visit de.gov/monkeypox.