UPDATE: Mississippi expands eligibility for free monkeypox vaccinations

To find out if you’re eligible and to make an appointment for a monkeypox vaccination, call the...
To find out if you’re eligible and to make an appointment for a monkeypox vaccination, call the Mississippi State Health Department at 1-877-978-6453.(MGN)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 5:20 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2022 at 2:36 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi State Health Department on Friday expanded its eligibility requirements for the monkeypox vaccine. The hope is to reach even more people at high risk for infection.

You may be eligible for vaccination if:

  • You have been notified or are aware of close, intimate or sexual contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox.
  • You identify as gay, bisexual, transgender, or as a man who has sex with men, and 1) you have had multiple or anonymous sex partners, or 2) you have attended an event or venue where monkeypox may have been transmitted (for instance, by sex or skin-to-skin contact), or 3) are living with HIV, or 4) have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the prior 90 days.

To make an appointment or just learn more about the vaccinations, call the state health department at 1-877-978-6453.

As of September 8, there have been 45 reported monkeypox cases in Mississippi. Health officials say early preventive steps are important to reduce wider transmission of monkeypox.

Mississippi’s first case of monkeypox was identified on July 25, 2022. View the latest case counts on the CDC’s monkeypox surveillance page.

Remember, anyone who comes in contact with an infected person may be at risk. Monkeypox can be spread to others when symptoms begin and until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Healing can take several weeks.

Here’s what monkeypox feels like. Early symptoms are usually flu-like:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Other symptoms usually develop a few days later:

  • A painful rash or sores, sometimes located on or near the genitals or anus, but sometimes in other areas such as the hands, feet, chest or face. These sores will go through several stages before healing.
  • Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.

Note: Some people experience a rash or sores first, followed by other symptoms and some only experience a rash or sores.

Here’s what you need to do if you get a new or unexplained rash, especially if you have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox:

  • Isolate at home.
  • Contact your healthcare provider for testing.

Finally, if you or your partner are diagnosed with monkeypox:

  • Follow the treatment and prevention recommendations of your healthcare provider.
  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until all your sores have healed and you have a fresh layer of skin formed.

The CDC has more information on monkeypox and protective steps:

What You Need to Know about Monkeypox if You are a Teen or Young Adult

Information for schools, day care, and other settings serving children or adolescents

Personal safety and safety in social gatherings

Monkeypox information from the CDC

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