(WPRI) — Amid a “severely limited national supply” of the vaccine used to prevent monkeypox, health officials in Massachusetts announced on Friday a new strategy to vaccinate eligible residents.
The Massachusetts Department of Health announced the department and its vaccine partners are prioritizing first doses of the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine for “as many people as possible.”
“This approach is intended to provide the broadest possible protection against the spread of monkeypox virus in Massachusetts and is consistent with a growing number of states, jurisdictions and large municipalities,” DPH wrote in a statement.
Health officials noted individuals with moderate to severe immune compromise, such as those living with HIV infection who are not virologically suppressed, people on chemotherapy and individuals who have recently received an organ transplant, second doses should still be administered using the 28-day dosing interval.
DPH said second doses for others will be made available as soon as possible when more doses are available from the federal government.
“A second dose given weeks to months after the primary dose will still result in boosting and provide long-term immunity,” DPH added in a statement.
As of August 8, DPH said second dose appointments that are already scheduled will be honored and not cancelled, and no new second dose appointments will be scheduled until additional vaccine is available.
As of Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted 157 confirmed monkeypox cases in Massachusetts and 29 in Rhode Island.
The R.I. Department of Health said Friday its scheduled monkeypox vaccine clinics on Friday and Saturday had been completely booked, and no vaccine would be available for walk-ins.