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Eligible Rhode Islanders Reminded to Sign Up for Monkeypox Vaccine Interest Notification List

RHODE ISLAND, August 18 - As Rhode Island continues to expand its monkeypox vaccination campaign, eligible Rhode Islanders are reminded to add their names to the State's confidential Monkeypox Vaccine Interest Notification List. As additional doses of monkeypox vaccine become available in Rhode Island, eligible Rhode Islanders will be contacted directly about vaccination opportunities at community clinics.

"While the risk of monkeypox for most Rhode Islanders is low, people who are eligible to be vaccinated because they are at higher risk should get vaccinated. Through the Monkeypox Vaccine Interest Notification List, you will get a direct communication, either through email or text, about vaccine availability," said Interim Director of Health Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH. "Given the national shortage of monkeypox vaccine, this is the quickest way to access vaccine as soon as it comes into Rhode Island."

This reminder about signing up for the Vaccine Interest Notification List comes in advance of four additional community vaccination clinics that have been scheduled for August 19, August 20, September 2, and September 3. People who had already added their names to the Monkeypox Vaccine Interest Notification List when these clinics opened have been contacted directly about how to register. These clinics are nearing capacity. Additional clinics will be scheduled in the coming weeks. For more information about registration, see: health.ri.gov/monkeypox

RIDOH previously held two community vaccination clinics on August 5 and August 6. In addition to RIDOH-sponsored community vaccination clinics, health facilities such as Open Door Health, the Miriam Hospital Infectious Disease Clinic, and Thundermist Health Center have received limited amounts of monkeypox vaccine.

Eligibility for vaccination --People who are identified through a case investigation as close contacts of an individual with confirmed monkeypox (these people will be contacted directly by RIDOH) --Rhode Island residents who are 18 or older, AND --Had multiple sex partners, or at least one anonymous sex partner, during the past 30 days AND is: --Gay, bi, queer, or other man who has sex with men, OR --Transgender, non-binary, or gender diverse individual who has sex with any men who have sex with men.

Signing up for the Monkeypox Vaccine Interest Notification List To sign up for the Monkeypox Vaccine Interest Notification List, visit health.ri.gov/monkeypox and scroll to the Vaccination section. The Monkeypox Vaccine Interest Notification List is only for notifications about community vaccination clinics.

General information about monkeypox The US and the world are currently responding to an outbreak of monkeypox. Rhode Island has identified 33 cases and more than 12,600 cases have been identified nationally. Monkeypox is a virus that can be serious. It spreads through close physical contact with body fluids, monkeypox lesions, items that have been contaminated with fluids or lesion materials (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

An individual becomes contagious when symptoms first appear. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

Nationally, many gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with other men have been diagnosed with monkeypox, especially those who have reported multiple or anonymous sexual partners. However, people of any sexual orientation or gender identity can become infected with monkeypox.

Monkeypox prevention There are vaccines that help protect against monkeypox. In Rhode Island, the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine is being administered. This is a two-dose series, with the second dose coming roughly 28 days after the first dose. Full protection is achieved 14 days after the second dose.

In addition to getting vaccinated, people can take other prevention measures. Before having close, physical contact with others, talk to your partners about their health and any recent rashes or sores. Additionally, if you have symptoms, particularly a rash consistent with monkeypox (even if you do not think you were in contact with anyone with monkeypox), or if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox:

--Stay home and isolate from household members. --Contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible for an evaluation. --Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others, including sexual contact. --Inform sex partners about any symptoms you are experiencing. --Cover the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing. --If contacted by public health officials, answer their questions to help protect others who may have been exposed