GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – Health officials in Gaston County say they have the monkeypox vaccine available for residents, and since the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) expanded eligibility for the vaccine earlier this month, they want to provide it to those who are now able to receive it.
As of Thursday, September 15, there were 446 total cases in North Carolina. Gaston County DHHS says there are a total of 10 cases of monkeypox in the county, and the staff has conducted contact tracing with all of the positive cases. So far, they have only identified household contacts.
The monkeypox vaccine, JYNNEOS, has been proven safe and effective. It requires two (2) doses at least 28 days apart, and it takes approximately 14 days after getting the second dose of JYNNEOS to reach maximum protection. More than 16,000 vaccines have been administered across North Carolina. The vaccine is available for people who meet any of the following criteria:
- Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox; or
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who are sexually active; or
- People who have had sexual contact with gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals in the past 90 days; or
- People living with HIV, or taking medication to prevent HIV (PrEP), or who were diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days.
The state expanded eligibility on September 7 based on case data and current spread to protect more people in higher-risk categories. While anyone can get monkeypox, nearly all of North Carolina’s cases are still in gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men. People most commonly get monkeypox through close and sustained skin-to-skin contact, including but not limited to intimate and sexual contact.
For more information about getting tested for monkeypox or the vaccine, contact your local healthcare provide, or you can call Gaston County Public Health at 704-862-5303.