HONOLULU (KHON2) — The first allocation of monkeypox vaccine doses have arrived in Hawaii. The Hawaii Department of Health received 357 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine on Thursday, which is known to prevent the viral disease from spreading.

DOH said its allocation is from the Strategic National Stockpile and will continue to receive allocations as supply becomes available.

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Getting vaccinated reduces the chance of getting monkeypox, and it may reduce symptoms if you do get it. We will continue to work with the community to ensure that vaccines reach those most at risk for infection and severe disease and ensure that Hawaiʻi’s allocation is distributed equitably.”

DEPUTY STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST DR. NATHAN TAN

DOH said as vaccine supplies are limited and DOH is working on a strategy for vaccine allocation in Hawaii to protect those at increased risk of infection or severe disease:

  • The first phase will use Hawaiʻi’s allocation to vaccinate close contacts of people known to have monkeypox, and for people who may have had high-risk exposures in venues or areas where monkeypox is actively spreading. DOH is arranging vaccine distribution and administration in this first phase. In this phase, vaccines will not be available through your doctor.
  • DOH expects to receive additional doses in the coming weeks. In the second phase of the distribution plan, broader vaccination of people who may be at risk of severe illness or future exposure will be considered. DOH will announce when (the) vaccine becomes more widely available.

Individuals diagnosed with monkeypox experience symptoms that include:

  • Mild to moderate illness, itchy and painful rash and sores.
  • Infection begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes.
  • The infection progresses to a rash or sores, often on the hands, feet, chest, face, or genitals.
  • Individuals become ill within 21 days of exposure.

According to DOH, monkeypox is spread through close, intimate contact with body fluids, lesion material, or items used by someone with monkeypox as well as close, prolonged contact with an infected person or animal.

DOH said the disease can also be spread through large respiratory droplets that cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required.

Individuals that may have been exposed to someone with monkeypox may be at risk of infection, according to DOH, and should contact their healthcare provider.

The disease does not discriminate “regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said DOH.

DOH concluded: “nationwide, the current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, so this community is currently at greater risk of exposure.

In Hawaii, positive cases of monkeypox were reported “among gay or bisexual men,” according to DOH.

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The federal government expects more than 1.6 million monkeypox vaccine doses to be made available nationwide in 2022.