Monkeypox vaccine eligibility expands in NC as cases and shot supply increase

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The vaccine to fight the monkeypox virus will now be available to more people in North Carolina as the supply for shots increases.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the expanded eligibility on Tuesday as cases continue to trend higher.

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Beginning Wednesday, the vaccines will be available for anyone who meets the below criteria, NCDHHS said.

Official criteria from NCDHHS

  • Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox; or

  • Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who are sexually active; or

  • People who have had sexual contact with gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals in the past 90 days; or

  • People living with HIV, or taking medication to prevent HIV (PrEP), or who were diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days.

The health department said the expansion is backed by case and spread data to most effectively protect people in high-risk categories.

Anyone can get monkeypox, but so far, NCDHHS says nearly all cases are in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men.

The state said the new criteria removes requirements that may have prevented some people from getting vaccinated.

As of Aug. 31, 11,420 vaccines have been administered in North Carolina, the health department said.

(WATCH BELOW: Caldwell, Stanly counties announce first reported monkeypox cases)