Louisiana has expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine to new groups. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The Louisiana Department of Health on Wednesday expanded the list of people who are eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine after the state received 6,000 additional doses from the federal government.
Health care providers are now allowed to give the vaccine to any person who they deem high risk. Initially, the vaccine was mostly limited to men who have sex with men, transgender women and nonbinary people assigned the male sex at birth.
The state is also specifically targeting the following new groups for vaccination:
*Men who have sex with men and who have multiple intimate partners
*Transgender women who have had multiple intimate partners
*Nonbinary people assigned the male sex at birth and have multiple intimate partners
*People who have HIV or take medications to avoid HIV (PrEP)
*People who are experiencing homelessness
*People who use intravenous drugs
*People who trade money or goods for sex
*People who have significant skin-to-skin contact with others in a social or sexual venue
*People who work in places where intimate and sexual activity occurs (including hotels, saunas, bathhouses and sex clubs)
*People who work in laboratories and health clinics who might be at high-risk for exposure
Across the United States and Europe, most of the recent monkeypox cases have been found in men who have sex with men, but anyone –regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — can contract the disease. It is through to spread through close, intimate contact, which doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual.
There had been 186 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Louisiana as of Thursday. Most of those cases (138) were found in New Orleans and its surrounding parishes.
Almost all of the Louisiana cases (91%) have been found in men, and Black people make up over half of the people (61%) diagnosed with monkeypox. The majority of the cases (60%) are also among people ages 30 to 49.
The Louisiana Department of Health regularly updates monkeypox vaccination locations here.
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