NJ launches more sites to get monkeypox vaccine as cases climb
TRENTON – New Jersey has nearly doubled its number of sites for monkeypox vaccination — widening vaccine access as the number of confirmed cases of the virus approached 300 on Friday.
Residents without a confirmed exposure who believe they may have been exposed or who are at high risk for having been exposed to the virus can now seek appointments for vaccination at facilities in Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic counties, state officials announced.
These sites join existing vaccination partners in Camden, Essex, Hudson, Bergen and Monmouth counties for expanded Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) — getting the vaccine after possibly being exposed to the virus.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently gave an emergency use authorization to administer smaller doses of monkeypox vaccine, as a way of trying to stretch the available stockpile by up to five times more.
Residents are eligible to receive a vaccine if they meet one of the following criteria:
— People with known contact with someone who tested positive for monkeypox (or orthopox) within the past 14 days
— People who attended an event where known monkeypox exposure happened within the past 14 days.
— People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days, in areas where monkeypox has been reported.
“The number of doses provided to New Jersey by the federal government has been limited to date and in high demand,” state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a written release. “The FDA’s decision will expand available doses for those age 18 and over who are at high risk for monkeypox.”
“In recent weeks the monkeypox virus has continued to spread at a rate that has made it clear our current vaccine supply will not meet the current demand,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a written statement.
“The FDA quickly explored other scientifically appropriate options to facilitate access to the vaccine for all impacted individuals. By increasing the number of available doses, more individuals who want to be vaccinated against monkeypox will now have the opportunity to do so.”
Monkeypox continues to be a rare disease that can affect anyone. It is caused by a virus that is part of the orthopox family of viruses.
Although many of the current cases have been found in individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men, monkeypox can spread from direct contact with any infected individual to any other individual.
As of Aug. 11, there were 293 confirmed or probable monkeypox cases in the state — with Hudson County leading the count with 88.
Essex, Bergen, Union, Monmouth and Camden counties also have seen a growing number of cases confirmed — though just as with other public health issues, testing access could be a contributing factor in under-reported cases, public health experts have pointed out.
For monkeypox testing, individuals still are directed to call their local health department first, to coordinate resources. A directory of New Jersey local health departments is online.
Vaccination is by appointment only, through the following community partners:
Cooper Vaccine Clinic, Cooper University Hospital
Location: 300 Broadway, Camden
North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI)
Phone: 973-483-3444 ext. 200
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation/Project Living Out Loud!
Location: Jersey City
Eric B. Chandler Health Center
Location: 277 George St., New Brunswick
The Prevention Resource Network, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey
Location: Asbury Park
Zufall Health Center
Location: 18 West Blackwell St., Dover
Passaic County Health Department
Location: 930 Riverview (Back of facility, Suite 250), Totowa