As issued by the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health on behalf of the region
SAINT LOUIS, MO (August 11, 2022) - State and regional health officials are announcing a monkeypox vaccine distribution plan for the St. Louis area that expands eligibility for vaccination based on recent increased transmission of the virus in the region.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has designated the St. Louis County Department of Public Health as the St. Louis region’s vaccine hub for St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis and St. Charles and Jefferson counties. DHSS has distributed 1,900 vials of monkeypox vaccine to DPH for use within the region and for distribution to other areas of the state that may experience an increase in need for vaccine availability. Based on very recent CDC guidance, several people may be vaccinated with each vial, and Missouri public health officials are incorporating this guidance into vaccination plans.
Under the current plan, a portion of those vials will be reserved for health departments and other health care providers in the region or across the state to use to protect close contacts of individuals with monkeypox. The plan makes the remaining vials available to the health departments as well as local clinics to vaccinate additional individuals who meet CDC criteria for being at high risk for contracting the disease.
The monkeypox virus is primarily spread through close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or shared clothing or bedding. Although anyone can get monkeypox, men who have sex with men have been most affected during the current outbreak and will be prioritized in the current vaccine plan.
DHSS has set up a public survey to identify people who are at high risk for contracting monkeypox and may qualify for the initial round of doses. The survey can be found here.
Monkeypox is a rare illness caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is related to the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox patients usually have flu-like symptoms and fatigue, followed by a rash that looks like pimples, sores or blisters. The sores can be painful or itchy and may first appear in the genital area. Monkeypox infection is rarely fatal.
Monkeypox vaccine protects against the disease, but it is not used to treat individuals who have already contracted it. Vaccination consists of two vaccine doses per person administered four weeks apart, with maximum effectiveness at least two weeks after the second dose. Supply of monkeypox vaccine is limited nationwide as well as in Missouri, and area health experts expect the demand for it to outweigh supply, at least initially. DPH has requested additional doses and expects more from the state in the coming days, depending on nationwide availability.
For more information on monkeypox, visit the DHSS page on the disease here. For monkeypox information in St. Louis County, go here; in the City of St. Louis, go here; and in Jefferson County, go here.
Department of Health
Immunizations and Public Health