“Monkey pox is a zoonotic viral infection that can result in outbreaks similar to those observed in smallpox. Its clinical manifestations can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, aches, pains. Martin Hirsch, MD, editor-in-chief of infectious diseases Wolters Kluwer UpToDate, senior physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard University.
The virus spreads primarily through direct contact with infected skin, sores, or body fluids, or through indirect contact with objects the patient has used (such as blankets or clothing). It can also be transmitted through the placenta from an infected person to their fetus.
As a result, the federal government this week finally announced that the virus has become a national public health emergency. The declaration opens the allocation of resources and funds to manage the spread of the virus, including the distribution of vaccines.
The good news is that two different vaccines for the virus have existed for years, and the targeting of these shots for high-risk populations has been developed in many cities across the country. This week, the New York City Department of Health released the first set of 25,000 openings for trans, gay, and bisexual people and sexual networks.
The bad news: Monkey vaccines are difficult now, even for people who are eligible. “Vaccines for monkeypox are available, but on a limited basis, and the criteria for receiving the vaccine may vary depending on your risk status and where you live,” says Dr. Hirsch.
The occurrence of a new disease outbreak and the commotion surrounding vaccine access and the impact on your health can be really confusing, so some of us experts break down exactly what’s going on with the monkey vaccine.
As a monkey vaccine works
“We have two smallpox vaccines that are also effective against monkeys: ACAM2000 and Jynneos,” said Linda Yancey, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston. This is because the monkey virus is related to the virus that causes smallpox; both types of orthopoxviruses.
Jynneos is the newer of the two vaccines and has been around in the US since 2019. “The vaccine provides a non-replicating virus to the immune system so that antibodies can be produced against it.” Specifically, this vaccine uses a weaker, related orthopoxvirus. “Then, when the person is exposed to the virus, it will be able to quickly kill him and prevent damage,” said Dr.
The older monkey vaccine is ACAM2000, an iteration of the smallpox vaccine used to eradicate smallpox in the 20th century. This vaccine uses a sample of a live, replicating virus called vaccinia to inoculate someone against smallpox. (More on that effect in a moment).
These vaccines are very effective at preventing rabies — an estimated 85 percent, according to the CDC. They work best before exposure, but can also be used for post-exposure vaccination, says Dr. “If given within four days of exposure, they can stop the disease. If given five to fourteen days after exposure, they can reduce the severity of the disease,” he said. This is a great vaccine that provides a mechanism to prevent the spread of the disease once someone has contracted it.
Eventually, as vaccine production increased, states and towns could adopt a public health measure called “ring vaccination.” This means that if someone comes down with a monkey, everyone who lives with them or has close contact with them could get the vaccine to help prevent the spread.
What is the difference between the two vaccine monkeys?
While both Jynneos and ACAM2000 use a live sample of a weaker virus vaccine to help inoculate, the version used in ACAM2000 can replicate older viruses. That has implications for how these vaccines are administered—and who gets them.
First of all, Jynneos is a double shot in the arm, taken 28 days apart, while the ACAM2000 pricks the skin with two needles in one weight. (A live virus causes a blister to form on the arm, then blisters stop and fall off within a few weeks.) According to the CDC, it takes 14 days after the second dose of Jynneos for you to have a full immune response. It takes about four weeks for a person’s immune response to fully develop after receiving ACAM2000.
They also have different side effects. People may have pain or swelling at the injection site after getting their Jynneos shots, and the most common side effects are fatigue, headache, and muscle pain. ACAM2000 can also cause pain and swelling at the infusion site, but is also associated with more serious (but rare) side effects such as myocarditis and pericarditis, and also inflammation of the heart or heart lining.
But the biggest difference comes down to who can get the vaccine. If you see warnings about not getting certain vaccines if you have psoriasis or eczema, ACAM2000 is what people are referred to, says Peter Lio, MD, FAAD assistant clinical professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. . What they do live, the virus replicating in ACAM2000, while generally safe for most people, can be harmful to people who have compromised immune systems (say, have cancer or HIV), are pregnant, or have inflammatory skin conditions like scabies. (Jyneos is generally considered safer than these peoples).
But don’t get into fights also in these vaccine differences is detected a shiny stony. Why? Jynneos is the only one that is specifically approved by the FDA to fight monkeypox. (ACAM2000 can be used for vaccination due to a specific FDA protocol that requires patients to fill out informed consent forms.) The current vaccine distributed in the cities of New York, San Francisco, and Chicago is the Jynneos vaccine, Dr. Yancey explains. It’s also safer to distribute to humans with suspected immune systems (critical, given that 41 percent of global monkeypox cases are confirmed in humans who also have HIV). Dr. Lio promises that Jynneos will be safe for people with skin conditions, and that monkeypox poses a much more serious risk to people with these conditions than the latest vaccines.
How to get the monkey vaccine if you are eligible?
Unfortunately, this is a very difficult question to answer right now. Currently, the demand for the vaccine far outstrips our supply, says Dr. (The ACAM2000 vaccine is a big stack and the Jynnes one is small – but the federal government is working on addressing what it’s talking about.) More vaccines are on the way, but it will be a while before we can all get one. whoever wants or needs to shoot.
The only way to get the vaccine, in time, among high-risk populations (such as people who sleep with people and have close relationships) is to get a dose through your local health. “We promise that in time more will be created, but for now, hospitals and doctor’s offices do not have it,” said Dr. Over time this will be expanded to ensure the safety of the immunocompromised and workers. It will eventually be provided to the rest of the population if the rebellion continues.