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On August 4, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency in the United States. The Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System is currently offering the monkeypox vaccine to Veterans who are at high risk of exposure to the monkeypox virus. Read on to find answers to questions you may have about monkeypox, including how to get a vaccine if you are eligible.

Monkeypox Information

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.

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.

Monkeypox vaccines

The southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System is offering the JYNNEOS vaccine to eligible Veterans. The vaccine center is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Veterans Medical Center at 2400 Canal Street in New Orleans. No appointment is needed.

The vaccine requires two doses per person, 28 days apart. When you walk in for your first dose, you will need to confirm that you meet at least one of the eligibility criteria described below.

Current eligibility criteria

If you answer yes to any of the questions below, say “I am eligible” when you arrive for the vaccine. You do not need to specify which question you are answering.

Are you: 

  1. A known contact of someone with monkeypox who was identified by public health authorities, for example via case investigation, contact tracing or risk exposure assessment?
  2. Aware that a recent sex partner (within the past 14 days) was diagnosed with monkeypox?
  3. A man or transgender individual who has sex with men or who has had any of the following in the past 14 days or plans to have any of the following in the future:
    • sex with multiple partners, group sex or sex parties?

    • sex at a commercial sex venue or exchange of cash or goods for sex?

    • sex in association with an event or area where monkeypox transmission is occurring (e.g., Southern Decadence or similar festivals)?