North Carolina expands eligibility for monkeypox vaccine
North Carolina is expanding who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine. Starting Wednesday, anyone who has sexual contact with men who have sex with men can get the shots, including women who have sex with bisexual men. People with HIV or taking medication to prevent HIV can also now get a vaccine.
Here’s the complete list of expanded criteria from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:
- Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox; or
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who are sexually active; or
- People who have had sexual contact with gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals in the past 90 days; or
- People living with HIV, taking medication to prevent HIV (PrEP), or who were diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days.
The expanded eligibility comes at a time when Mecklenburg County has begun to see the rate of monkeypox cases decline. Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Raynard Washington says weekly cases have decreased by just over a third over the past several weeks.
“We are beginning to see a slowing in our case rate, which is certainly encouraging news. We are cautiously optimistic that this may be a good sign for our community as we move forward with the current outbreak,” said Washington.
Mecklenburg County now reports 142 cases of Monkeypox, almost all in men. There are 7 hospitalizations involving the disease and no deaths related to it.