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Health Care

Vaccine supply ‘severely limited’ as Maryland logs 149 monkeypox cases

This digitally colorized electron microscopic image shows a monkeypox virion. U.S. CDC image.

By Alejandro Alvarez and Michelle Basch

A month-and-a-half after confirming its first case, Maryland has counted 149 cases of monkeypox — and the state says vaccine availability is still limited.

Maryland has only received enough of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine for just over 3,200 people, and the state may not get more doses from the federal government until this fall. Updating residents on the state’s response plan Tuesday, state leaders said their immediate goal is to limit the spread of the virus and vaccinate people who may have been exposed in the last two weeks.

“While vaccine supply from the federal government is severely limited at this time, anyone who believes that they may need testing or treatment should contact their health care provider or local health department immediately,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. “We will keep pressing the federal government to provide more vaccines to the states and do all we can to make resources available to those at risk.”

Priority is being given to people who are known close contacts of confirmed monkeypox cases, health care workers who may have been exposed through a patient and laboratory staff who work with monkeypox testing. Public health officials are trying to identify individuals at high risk through contact tracing, case investigation and risk exposure assessments.

“Due to the limited supply of the vaccine from the federal government, the state is working closely with local health partners to make doses available in a manner that focuses on locations that have case counts and higher-risk populations,” said Dr. Jinlene Chan with the Maryland Department of Health. “We plan to expand access to the vaccine as more supply becomes available.”

Tests for monkeypox are available from state and commercial labs, but Marylanders who believe they have been exposed need to go through their medical provider or local health department to schedule one.

Maryland health officials say the risk to the general public appears low. More information on monkeypox testing, transmission and symptoms can be found on the health department’s website.

While Maryland has 149 monkeypox cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reported 105 cases in Virginia, and nearly 250 in D.C.

As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Alejandro Alvarez and Michelle Basch. Click here for the WTOP News website.