HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WKRG) – Monkeypox vaccinations are now available on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for people considered at high-risk for transmission.
The state health department announced Thursday vaccination appointments can now be made at the Harrison County Health Department in Gulfport and the Forrest County Health Department in Hattiesburg. Appointments are also available in Adams, Hinds, Lauderdale, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes and Panola counties.
11 cases of monkeypox have been identified in Mississippi as of Thursday. 10,000 cases have been reported nationwide.
Very few doses of monkeypox vaccine have been received in Mississippi, according to the state health department. The two-dose vaccine is available to close contacts of a person with an infection and others at highest risk for potential exposure.
“While anyone who is exposed to monkeypox through close person-to-person or intimate contact may become infected, most of the cases being seen in this outbreak are among individuals who are gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
Individuals 18 years or older may be eligible for vaccination if they:
- Have been notified or are aware of close intimate or sexual contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, OR
- Identify as gay, bisexual, transgender, or other men who have sex with men, who report
- Having had multiple or anonymous sex partners, OR
- Having attended an event or venue where monkeypox may have been transmitted (for example, by skin-to-skin contact or sex on-site).
Monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection. Anyone who has direct contact with a monkeypox rash or scabs or touched objects and fabrics like towels, bedding, or clothing and other surfaces that have come into contact with monkeypox can transmit the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Mississippians may call 1-877-978-6453 to determine eligibility and make a vaccination appointment. Appointments can only be made through the call center.