State health department expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility

This digitally-colorized electron microscopic image depicts monkeypox virus particles, obtained from a clinical sample. (CDC/Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery, Hannah Bullock)

The Alaska Department of Health has expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine.

Anyone who believes they are at increased risk for infection is now eligible, the department announced Monday.

The vaccine was previously recommended only for people who have been exposed to monkeypox, and gay or bisexual men and transgender people who’ve had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last six months.

Now, it’s available for anyone who self-identifies as being at increased risk.

According to the state health department, that might include sex workers, certain healthcare workers, and people with intimate or household contact with gay or bisexual men and transgender people with multiple partners.

Those interested in getting vaccinated can contact their local public health center or call the state’s helpline at 907-646-3322. In Anchorage, vaccines are available at Fairweather’s Tikahtnu Commons clinic.

More than 450 doses have been administered in the state as of Monday. Five cases have been reported in Alaska, four of which were in Anchorage.

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