Monkeypox continues to spread across the U.S., including in New Jersey and especially in Hudson County. With the number of probable and confirmed cases in the country rising to 7,510 as of August 5, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared the virus to be a public health emergency.
The virus was first detected in New Jersey in June, with the first confirmed case in Jersey City. In New Jersey, 243 probable and confirmed monkeypox cases were reported across 15 counties as of August 8, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH). Hudson County had 73 cases of monkeypox, the highest among all counties in the state.
As a result, the county is rolling out monkeypox vaccines in conjunction with the state. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox.
Monkeypox can affect anyone
The CDC is working with state and local health officials to monitor probable and confirmed cases within the country. According to a recent report on the virus by the CDC, among U.S. monkeypox cases with available data, 99 percent occurred in men.
The report found that 94 percent of whom reported recent male-to-male sexual or close intimate contact. Additionally, racial and ethnic minority groups appear to be disproportionately affected. However, the virus can affect anyone.
The virus can cause flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. Monkeypox does not spread easily to people without close contact.
People who think they may have been exposed to monkeypox or who have symptoms of monkeypox should consult with a healthcare provider. The NJDOH is working in conjunction with the CDC and local health departments to quickly identify monkeypox cases and close contacts, provide treatment and vaccine, and further prevent the spread of disease.
Most at-risk eligible for vaccine
North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) has received 1,000 doses of monkeypox (JYNNEOS) vaccines for distribution throughout Hudson County this week. With the current limited supply of JYNNEOS vaccine in New Jersey, only certain persons are eligible to receive it.
According to the NHCAC, those eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine are: gay and transgender men; men and women who engage in risky sexual behavior; or men and women who have come in close contact with someone who has monkeypox.
The vaccine approved to fight monkeypox is called JYNNEOS. The vaccine is given in two doses, so people who receive vaccines in August must get a second dose four weeks later in September.
The privacy of all registrants and vaccine recipients will be protected, but applicants must provide photo ID. There will be no charge to recipients for the vaccine or its distribution.
Where to get the jab
Vaccinations will be given from 1 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9 at the North Bergen Vaccine and Resource Center, 9243 Kennedy Boulevard. Registration is fast and easy online through
nhcac.org/northhudsonmonkeypox/nb-vaccine-and-resource-center. Walk-ins will also be accepted with onsite registration.
Vaccinations will also be given from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, August 8 through 11, at the North Hudson Campus of Hudson County Community College at 4800 Kennedy Boulevard in West New York, and the Journal Square campus at 70 Sip Avenue in Jersey City.
In addition, vaccinations will be given at the East Newark Recreation Center on Wednesday and Thursday, August 10 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at the Kearny Health Department on Friday, August 12, from 1 to 6 p.m.
Coping with the outbreak
New Jersey is expecting additional doses from CDC. As the state gets additional supply, the NJDOH will continue to expand access to the vaccine.
So far, health officials have made it clear the monkeypox outbreak is not the same as the COVID-19 pandemic, but anything could happen. In the meanwhile, vaccinations against monkeypox are being offered to the most at-risk.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.