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Monkeypox vaccine vial
Photo of VA Central California Health Care System

On May 7, 2022, the world was alerted to a confirmed case of monkeypox in the United Kingdom. Since then, the virus has spread to many countries including the United States, and the World Health Organization has declared it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On August 4, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency in the United States.


VA is working in close collaboration with local and state public health authorities, as well as other federal agencies like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to ensure Veterans have access to testing, treatment, and prevention tools, such as antivirals and vaccines. In addition, VA is closely following clinical, infection control, and occupational health guidance provided by the CDC. 


Although recent spread of monkeypox cases is alarming, the virus is far less contagious than COVID-19. Monkeypox spreads by very close and/or prolonged contact with someone with symptoms, while COVID-19 can spread from an infected person who has no symptoms.

VA will receive approximately 13,000 vials of JYNNEOS™ monkeypox vaccine from Department of Health and Human Services as early as the end of August. Once VA receives its initial allocation of the vaccine, it will begin offering the JYNNEOS™ vaccine to Veterans at risk of infection.


For Veterans who need the vaccine, the series requires 2 doses per person, 28 days apart.

  • Due to the limited supply and to ensure availability for Veterans who need it, most Veterans will receive their dose of the vaccine in the shallow layers between their skin (intradermal) on their forearm, as authorized by an FDA Emergency Use Authorization.  This route, which is being used across the country, uses less vaccine per person and is safe and effective.


  • Some Veterans who have had a type of scarring called a “keloid” will get a dose in the upper arm that is injected in the layer of fat below the skin (subcutaneous).


Any person who comes in direct skin-to-skin contact with another who is infected may catch monkeypox. The current outbreak has, for now, disproportionately affected the gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. California State Health Authorities currently recommend the vaccine for:


  • People who have been identified as a close contact of someone who has monkeypox (suspected or confirmed case) – typically the Public Health Department will contact you if you have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox.
  • Laboratory staff, healthcare workers, and public health response team members who routinely handle monkeypox virus samples for diagnosis or testing purposes or has a high-risk occupational exposure (this applies to VERY few people).
  • Attendees of events/venues where known monkeypox exposure has occurred within the past 14 days.
  • People who received the first dose of the monkeypox vaccine more than 28 days ago are eligible to receive the second dose.
  • Individuals of any sexual orientation or gender identity who engage in high-risk sexual activities. This may include any of the following, but not limited to:
    • Engaged in sex with multiple partners in the past 14 days
    • New Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) diagnosis within the last 12 months
    • Were diagnosed with a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) within the past 12 months
    • Sex workers


People who are at risk for Monkeypox may also be at risk for getting HIV. Talk to your healthcare provider about if a daily medication to reduce your risk of getting HIV is right for you.

Veterans who think they may be at personal risk of exposure are encouraged to contact our monkeypox vaccination team at 559-225-6100, extension 3780 to get scheduled for the vaccine or for more


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