Wisconsin health officials expand monkeypox vaccine eligibility criteria

More Wisconsinites are now allowed to get vaccinated against monkeypox after state health officials widened the eligibility criteria Tuesday.
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 3:12 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2022 at 8:46 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - More Wisconsinites are now allowed to get vaccinated against monkeypox after state health officials widened the eligibility criteria Tuesday.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that 63 cases of monkeypox/orthovirus have been detected as of Sept. 6. The agency noted that 98% of all cases have been identified in men.

New eligibility groups include anyone who is at an elevated risk of being exposed to the virus in the future, such as those who work in labs testing for orthopoxviruses or those who expect to have multiple partners for sex.

DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said Tuesday that allowing more people to get vaccinated is another step to prevent the spread of monkeypox.

“It is encouraging to see that the rate of new monkeypox infections is slowing, and this decision allows for even more Wisconsinites to protect themselves against monkeypox,” Timberlake said. “DHS strongly encourages anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to do so.”

Data collected about monkeypox also indicate a disproportionate impact on the number of infections in communities of color in the state, DHS stated. More than half of all monkeypox cases in the state were noted to be in communities of color. DHS is calling on vaccinators to enhance their efforts to communities who are the most affected and collaborate with organizations who serve communities of color.

There are 58 sites giving out the monkeypox vaccine in Wisconsin, DHS added. Anyone who is unable to make an appointment at a vaccine location is encouraged to call their local or tribal health department.

DHS said that anyone who meets the following criteria, wording theirs, is eligible to get vaccinated:

  • Known contacts who are identified by public health through case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments.
  • Presumed contacts who may meet the following criteria:
    • People who know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox.
    • People who attended an event or venue where there was known monkeypox exposure.
    • Gay men, bisexual men, trans men and women, any men who have sex with men, and gender non-conforming/non-binary people who have had multiple sexual partners in the last 14 days.
  • People considered to have an elevated risk of exposure to monkeypox in the future:
    • Gay men, bisexual men, trans men and women, any men who have sex with men, and gender non-conforming/non-binary people who expect to have multiple or anonymous sex partners. This may include people living with HIV and people who take HIV pre-exposure because of increased risk of sexually transmitted infections.
    • Clinical laboratory personnel who perform testing to diagnose orthopoxviruses, including those who use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for diagnosis of orthopoxviruses, including monkeypox virus.
    • Research laboratory workers who directly handle cultures or animals contaminated or infected with orthopoxviruses that infect humans, including monkeypox virus, replication-competent vaccinia virus, or recombinant vaccinia viruses derived from replication-competent vaccinia virus strains.
    • Certain health care providers working in sexual health clinics or other specialty settings directly caring for patients with sexually transmitted infections.