CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – The Illinois Department of Public Health said there is a limited supply of the vaccine for the monkeypox virus. So, the state is prioritizing the first dose of the vaccine for those eligible and at high risk.
That way, as many people as possible are vaccinated as soon as possible with the first shot, in order to reduce the spread of the virus.
That includes people in Central Illinois. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District said they are prioritizing those high risk people who could be concerned about getting protection against the virus.
CUPHD said high risk for the virus includes people who had close physical contact with someone who was diagnosed. It also included people who are gay, bisexual, or other same gender loving men who had intimate or sexual contact with other men.
Anyone can get this virus, regardless of sexual orientation. Early data suggests gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men have made up a high number of the initial cases. That’s why they’re included on the list of high risk individuals who are able to get the vaccine first.
“We don’t really have data for this current outbreak. However, we do know that individuals, if they’ve been exposed, and vaccine is given within a short time period after the exposure, it could potentially prevent infection,” Robert Davies, interim director of planning and research, said.
CUPHD said the risk for public infection is low. Unlike COVID, you have to have physical contact with a monkeypox rash to be exposed to the virus.
Champaign County does have the vaccine available, but again it’s in limited supply. If you believe you are in the high risk category and should receive a vaccine, you can call CUPHD at 217-531-5365.
Illinois is currently reporting 401 cases of confirmed or probable MPV in the state, with 85% of them in the City of Chicago and the rest in 13 counties around the state, including Cook County.
MPV is a disease that does not spread easily between people without close contact and has primarily affected men who have sex with men.
However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox.