Colorado prioritizes administering first doses of monkeypox vaccine to high-risk Coloradans


Boram Kim


COLORADO STATEWIDE (July 21, 2022) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will adopt a vaccination strategy that prioritizes administering first doses to as many high-risk individuals as possible.


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The strategy provides the broadest protection against the spread of monkeypox in Colorado as the federal vaccine supply remains extremely limited. The state will open additional vaccination appointments at clinics being planned for August.

“Given the current outbreak, our goal at this time is to reduce the spread of monkeypox among persons at risk, and to that end, we will use all our doses on hand to vaccinate as many eligible people as we are able,” said Eric France, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Public Health and Environment. “We do expect more doses to come from the federal government that we can then use for second dose administration.”

Jynneos is typically given in a two-dose series. Data from clinical trials suggests that receiving only the first dose of Jynneos vaccine should offer early protection from monkeypox. There is no maximum allowable interval between the first and second doses of a Jynneos vaccine series, and the second dose can be safely administered after the recommended 28-day window. Full protection from vaccination requires two doses of Jynneos given 28 days apart. Because of the limited federal supply, second doses may come after the standard 28-day interval. CDPHE will communicate with Coloradans who received first doses about when second doses are available and how to receive them.

If the vaccine is given four days after exposure to the monkeypox virus, it can help prevent people from getting sick; if given in the first two weeks after exposure, it could lessen the severity of the disease.

“Until the federal supply of vaccines becomes more abundant, we need to prioritize getting this vaccine to as many at-risk people as possible as quickly as we can, while ensuring access for underserved and hard-to-reach communities across Colorado. Our strategy is informed by the experiences of other states and countries. We will reevaluate this strategy if and when the federal vaccine supply increases,” said Scott Bookman, director of the Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response.

Vaccine appointments are available to Coloradans who self-attest to their eligibility through the appointment request form. Eligible Coloradans include men aged 18 years and older who are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days. Anyone who believes they have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 14 days is also eligible for the vaccine. Anyone can get monkeypox through close contact with someone who has the virus.

CDPHE continues to work with federal partners to further increase the number of vaccine doses in the state. To date, more than 1,100 doses have been administered in Colorado, including more than 1,000 vaccines given at 10 CDPHE-hosted clinics. At this time, the federal government is allocating vaccines to jurisdictions based on monkeypox case counts and the estimated size of the underlying population in the jurisdiction who might benefit from vaccination at this point in the outbreak.

Monkeypox may begin with flu-like symptoms that can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. Typically a rash or skin bumps develop within one to three days after the onset of fever, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. Monkeypox can look like syphilis, herpes, blisters, or even acne. In recent cases, additional symptoms have not always occurred before the rash or bumps if they have occurred at all. Coloradans should contact a health care provider and avoid physical contact with others if they think they have been exposed to monkeypox or are experiencing symptoms.

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This press release was provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.