Wyoming Department of Health Encourages Monkeypox Vaccines for LQBTQ Men
Written by Andrew-Rossi on August 9, 2022
The Wyoming Department of Health (W.D.H.) reports vaccines meant to help prevent monkeypox are now available on a limited, targeted basis to a limited, targeted population across the state.
As of Tuesday, August 9, Wyoming was the only state in the United States without a confirmed case of monkeypox. However, much like COVID-19 in 2020, it’s not a question of it but when the first case is identified in the Equality State.
Public health experts are tracking the monkeypox outbreak in several countries that don’t normally report the disease, including the United States. Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with W.D.H., said monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus.
“This disease is usually characterized by a rash and can also involve other symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness,” she said.
Monkeypox is related to smallpox with similar but milder symptoms. Ironically, monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
Harrist noted monkeypox is rarely fatal but can be unpleasant and painful. However, in some cases, the virus can cause serious illness.
The good news is this virus isn’t as contagious as the others prevalent in Wyoming.
“Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal contact,” she said. “Fortunately, it does not spread nearly as easily as do familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19.”
“We’re recommending vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and also for people who may be more likely to get monkeypox based on the current outbreak and how it has been spreading,” Harrist said. “While anyone can get monkeypox, vaccine eligibility is limited at this point to those people who are at highest risk due to limited supplies.”
The following adults are eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if they live or work in Wyoming:
- Men who have sex with men and who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last year
- Partners of men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last year
- Transgender and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with multiple or anonymous sexual partners who are male or male assigned at birth within the past year
- Sex workers (of any sex)
Vaccinations will begin the week of August 15.
Eligible adults interested in vaccination appointments should contact the public health office in their area. A listing of public health offices by county can be found on the Wyoming Department of Health website. People may also call W.D.H. at 307-777-6004 for help finding the closest local public health office.
While available monkeypox vaccine doses are being provided by the federal government through the state at no charge, a small administration fee may be charged.