Frequently Asked Questions: Monkeypox
- How is VA addressing the Monkeypox outbreak?
VA continues to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clinical, infection control, and contact investigation guidance. VA has chartered a Monkeypox Coordination Team who are working expeditiously with the field and program office stakeholders and subject matter experts to:
- Provide clinical guidance to the field.
- Procure and distribute vaccines in a transparent and equitable manner.
- Standardize and expand internal VA monkeypox testing capacity.
- Create surveillance and analytic tools; leverage our research expertise and resources to develop a VA monkeypox research agenda and launch appropriate studies.
- Develop communications products for the staff and our Veterans.
- Are all VA medical facilities going to have monkeypox vaccines in stock?
VA will develop a distribution plan for monkeypox vaccine to ensure equitable distribution across the VA facilities based on the projected patient needs, once the VA receives its initial allocation of the vaccine.
- With limited current national vaccine supply, what plan is the VA following to administer its monkeypox vaccine allocation?
VA will receive approximately 13,000 vials (up to 65,000 doses) 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.
- Are Veterans and SAVE LIVES Act recipients eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine at VA?
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 who should be prioritized for vaccine based on their personal risk of exposure. VA is following CDC guidelines and prioritizing individuals for the vaccine based on their personal risk of exposure.
VA will also coordinate with local health departments to receive monkeypox vaccine if VA does not have supplies available for Veteran patients. At this time, the SAVE LIVES Act eligibility is limited to COVID-19 vaccine.
- How will Veterans know if their local VA medical facility is providing the monkeypox vaccine?
Veterans are encouraged to visit their local medical facility’s website for the latest updates and contact information.
- Is testing for Monkeypox available through VA?
Monkeypox testing is currently available to VA facilities through the VA Public Health Reference Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, through the states, or through commercial laboratories.
- Are there antivirals against monkeypox?
There are currently no antivirals approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of monkeypox; however, antivirals developed against smallpox are available from the CDC as an investigational drug. VA has signed a reliance agreement with CDC’s human subject protection committee to access these drugs when indicated to treat patients with severe monkeypox.
- How long does monkeypox last?
Monkeypox normally takes about two weeks to four weeks to run its course. If you’re exposed to monkeypox, your provider will monitor you until the rash resolves.
- Is monkeypox fatal?
The less severe Clade II strain is causing the current world outbreak (2022). To date, no one has died from this outbreak in the United States. But monkeypox can lead to other problems (complications) like pneumonia and infections in your brain (encephalitis) or eyes, which can be fatal.