Hawaii expands monkeypox vaccination eligibility as 4 new cases are reported

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Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 12:18 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 3:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health reported Tuesday four additional monkeypox cases in Hawaii, bringing the total number in an ongoing outbreak to 16.

The additional cases include an Oahu resident with a history of travel outside Hawaii, an Oahu resident whose case is linked to previously reported cases, an Oahu resident whose case is still under investigation, and a non-resident who was diagnosed on Kauai and who had a history of travel outside Hawaii.

The newly reported cases come as the state has also expanded vaccine eligibility.

“As more vaccine doses become available, we are expanding vaccine eligibility to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this outbreak and individuals who are at risk for severe illness,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Nathan Tan, in a statement.

“While the risk to most Hawaii residents remains low, we encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated to prevent further transmission and protect our community.”

DOH said the expanded vaccination eligibility includes:

  • Close contact in the last 14 days with a person with known or suspected monkeypox infection
  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals who have multiple or anonymous sexual partners
  • Anyone who is severely immunocompromised or has certain skin conditions AND who has a household member or sexual partner at high risk for monkeypox

DOH is offering vaccinations on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Blaisdell Center.

Anyone who is eligible for the vaccine is asked to make an appointment online or by calling (808) 586-4462.

The state has so far received roughly 2,800 doses of JYNNEOS and continues to order more from the federal government.

DOH said more than 1,000 doses have been administered statewide.

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing.

The people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men.

But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

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