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DC Health Expands Eligibility Criteria for Monkeypox Vaccinations

Friday, August 12, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, DC Health announced expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current vaccination criteria and in response to a continued rise in monkeypox cases. DC Health reports that there are currently 321 cases of monkeypox in the District, representing the highest number of cases per capita in the United States.  

The new eligibility criteria for monkeypox vaccination will include District residents, individuals who work in the District, students enrolled at District universities/colleges, and persons affiliated with DC Health Programs that receive health care services in DC, and 18 years of age or older, who meet one of the following criteria: 

  • All people, of any sexual orientation or gender, who have had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks, including those currently considered highest risk: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender men, and transgender women; or
  • Sex workers (of any sexual orientation or gender); or
  • Staff (of any sexual orientation or gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)

The new eligibility criteria is in line with CDC’s current vaccination criteria and will go into effect on Saturday, August 13. Beginning Saturday, August 13, individuals will be able to pre-register under the new criteria; until then, the registration portal on will be down for updates.  

As of today, DC Health has:

  • Received approximately 21,755 doses of the JYENNOS vaccine
  • Administered more than 15,671 doses through DC Health monkeypox extended PEP clinics
  • Pre-registered more than 28,700 District residents
  • Sent out approximately 34,000 booking invitations (including re-invitations)
  • Identified more than 700 close contacts 
  • Hosted pop-up vaccination clinics with community partners to ensure equitable access to vaccine

Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It can spread during intimate physical contact between people, including sex, kissing, and hugging. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or when a person touches fabrics, such as bedding and towels, used by a person with monkeypox. 

Initial symptoms of monkeypox often include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash and lesions on the skin. Although the majority of cases do not require hospitalization, monkeypox is dangerous, highly contagious, and uncomfortable. Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to get tested, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. 

Residents are encouraged to visit for the latest information on the virus.