The Hawaii Department of Health today announced monkeypox vaccination appointments will be available starting Wednesday for adult residents at higher risk of monkeypox infection or severe illness.
Appointments for the first dose of the Jynneos vaccine will be available to Hawaii residents ages 18 and older who meet the following criteria:
>> Individuals who have had exposure to other individuals with confirmed orthopoxvirus/monkeypox virus within the last 14 days.
>> Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals with high-risk intimate contact in venues such as sex-on-premises events, bathhouses, and sex clubs, or areas where monkeypox is known to be spreading in the last 14 days.
Starting Wednesday, individuals who meet these criteria should call DOH at 808-586-4462 for an appointment. The phone line is available from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, but those who call outside of regular business hours may leave a voicemail.
To date, Hawaii has received 1,400 doses of the Jynneos vaccine from the strategic national stockpile with more expected as supply becomes available, health officials said. Demand, however, is expected to outpace Hawaii’s extremely limited supply.
Although Jynneos is federally approved as a two-dose series, DOH is prioritizing first doses for as many people as possible at this time. The first dose is effective as post-exposure prophylaxis, health officials said, which can help to prevent infections.
DOH is distributing vaccines to health care providers in each county who directly reach individuals at higher risk of monkeypox exposure. Appointments, however, are scheduled through DOH and not via individual providers.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family of viruses as smallpox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Infection often begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes, which is oftentimes followed by rashes or sores on the hands, feet, chest, face, or genitals.
However, some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms, according to CDC, while others only experience a rash. Individuals generally become ill within 21 days of exposure.
To date, state health officials have reported 11 monkeypox cases in Hawaii, with the first reported in an adult on Oahu on June 3. They have been reported on Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii island.