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Health Care

Maryland launches human monkeypox vaccination pre-registration system

A person receives a dose of the monkeypox vaccine at a pop-up vaccination clinic opened in Los Angeles in August. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

The Maryland Department of Health announced on Thursday that residents can sign up through a new pre-registration system to be alerted when monkeypox vaccines become available.

“This pre-registration system is another step to ensure that Marylanders can access the tools to stay protected from human monkeypox,” Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader said in a statement. “Keeping impacted residents healthy and safe remain our top priorities.”

People who register through the system and are determined to be eligible for the vaccine will receive an email invitation to make an appointment through their local health department.

To date, Maryland has received 14,539 vials of JYNNEOS vaccine from the federal government.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization earlier this month to switch from giving the vaccine subcutaneously, the way most people are used to receiving a vaccine, to intradermally, between the layers of the skin.

The state Department of Health has worked closely with local health departments to implement intradermal injections, which will enable them to deliver three to five doses from each vial.

While anyone can get monkeypox, which spreads through close personal and often skin-to-skin contact, it has mostly affected the LGBTQ community.

So far, there have been 19,465 U.S. cases of monkeypox reported in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Within Maryland, there have been 519 reported monkeypox cases since the first this year on June 16.

Vaccines are available throughout Maryland and are free. The state is prioritizing vaccinations for known close contacts who are identified by public health officials and people with potential monkeypox exposures within the last two weeks.

The health department urged people to register for a vaccine, even if they do not meet the current eligibility criteria. If eligibility expands, people who have already pre-registered will be notified of available appointments.

Anyone who has monkeypox symptoms should contact their health care provider. People without a provider or insurance should contact their local health department.