MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says Alabama will be getting roughly 500 to 600 doses of the Monkeypox vaccine “any minute now.”
The vaccine, called JYNNEOS, wasn’t made for Monkeypox specifically but is expected to work.
“The issue is that because it was made for smallpox, and there’s no smallpox, there wasn’t much of the vaccine around and they’re trying to ramp up production but there’s not very much of it,” Harris said.
The doses Alabama is receiving are part of the first round of allocations from the Strategic National Stockpile. Harris says the public risk is currently low.
“It’s something we want people to be aware of; It’s not something we want them to be alarmed about or worried about,” Harris said.
The virus spreads mainly through intimate skin-to-skin contact. It can cause a rash with raised spots and flu-like illness.
No more cases have been reported in Alabama since Friday, but that’s expected to change.
“We certainly believe there’s going to be an increase,” Jefferson County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Hicks said.
Hicks says once vaccines are widely available, getting one will depend on exposure and immune system risks.
“We’re not talking about having the general public come and get vaccinated, but it’s going to be targeted vaccinations based on individual risk,” Hicks said.
Mobile County Health Department’s Dr. Rendi Murphree says they’re staying vigilant and recommending people monitor their behaviors, especially when it comes to close prolonged physical contact.
“If you are in settings where you maybe have anonymous sex or group parties or a lot of people mingling or if you meet people on a dating app, those types of things, we really want you to be aware that you may be at higher risk,” Murphree said.
If you think you’ve been exposed, Murphree says to talk with your health care provider for testing.
As of the latest CDC data, roughly 1,800 cases have been reported in the U.S.