Recent FDA Action on Monkeypox Vaccine Administration Will Further Expand Access
TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, and Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli today announced that New Jersey is opening additional vaccination sites for monkeypox in Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic counties for residents without a confirmed exposure who believe they may have been exposed or are at high risk for having been exposed to the virus. These sites further expand access to the vaccine and will be administering a smaller vaccine dose intradermally to those age 18 and over – as newly permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization .
As of August 11, there are 293 confirmed or probable monkeypox cases in the state. The Department is working with vaccine providers to implement the new federal recommendations.
“My Administration continues our efforts to expand access to the monkeypox vaccine to help protect New Jerseyans from this virus,” said Governor Murphy. “These new sites will make it easier for eligible residents to locate a vaccine appointment closer to their homes. In addition to the new federal authorization, we are enhancing the vaccine’s reach throughout our state.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Murphy Administration’s strong response to combatting monkeypox and our commitment to reaching people most in need of vaccines,” said Lieutenant Governor Oliver. “We thank our partners at the federal level for helping to get more vaccines to affected communities. With everyone working together, we can better tackle this outbreak and protect people from the monkeypox virus.”
“The number of doses provided to New Jersey by the federal government has been limited to date and in high demand,” said New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The FDA’s decision will expand available doses for those age 18 and over who are at high risk for monkeypox.”
These sites join five existing vaccination sites in Camden, Essex, Hudson, Bergen and Monmouth counties for expanded Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). The new sites are:
Residents are eligible to receive a vaccine at these nine community sites if they meet one of the following criteria:
FDA’s EUA now allows for a .1ml JYNNEOS dose to be administered between the layers of the skin (intradermally) for adults at high risk, which will enable vaccination of more individuals. Two doses of the vaccine given four weeks (28 days) apart will still be needed.
Additionally, the FDA’s announcement removes administrative barriers for vaccinating high risk pediatric contacts; the FDA continues to recommend a 2-dose series (administered subcutaneously) for contacts under 18 years of age.
Anyone is able to get monkeypox through close contact with someone who has the virus. The Department and community partners continue outreach efforts to residents who are currently disproportionately impacted by this outbreak. Based on current cases, this includes gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men, although this may change in the future. Persons that have a condition that may increase their risk for severe disease if infected with monkeypox virus, such as a condition that weakens the immune system, or a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema, should be a high priority for vaccination if they have exposure risk as listed above.
For residents with known exposure to a person with monkeypox, the two-dose regimen for PEP continues to be available through their local health department. Anyone with a known exposure within the past 14 days should contact their health care provider or local health department regarding testing and vaccine eligibility. Local health departments will continue to conduct contact tracing and offer the JYNNEOS vaccine to anyone identified as a close contact.
Vaccinations against monkeypox at these sites are provided for free. Vaccinators may bill insurance for the administration if the patient has insurance, but no one will be turned away due to insurance coverage, ability to pay, or documentation status.
For testing, patients should check with their healthcare provider to find out what testing costs they may be responsible for, or can also seek low-cost medical care at one of several Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHC) located around the state. For treatment, the antiviral drug Tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely sick, like people with weak immune systems. NJ receives TPOXX from the federal government and provides it at no cost to healthcare providers for their patients. Patients should ask their healthcare provider about healthcare costs they will be responsible for and/or seek care at an FQHC.
For more information on monkeypox visit: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/monkeypox.shtml or https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html .
For a directory of New Jersey local health departments, visit: www.nj.gov/health/lh/documents/LocalHealthDirectory.pdf .