What Physicians Should Know About the Monkeypox Vaccine

What Physicians Should Know About the Monkeypox Vaccine

Two vaccines have been approved for monkeypox: JYNNEOS and ACAM2000. Due to a better side effect profile and easier administration, JYNNEOS is the preferred vaccine option. Offering the monkeypox vaccine to your patients is an important public service that can help stop the spread of this disease. But current vaccine eligibility guidelines are complex, and vaccines remain in short supply. Here is what physicians need to know about giving the monkeypox vaccine.

How the Monkeypox Vaccine Works

JYNNEOS is a two-dose vaccine that contains live, non-replicating orthopoxvirus. It can be used to prevent both smallpox and monkeypox. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved JYNNEOS for use in 2019. A recent Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) has updated JYNNEOS administration guidelines to allow more people to be vaccinated with a single vial of vaccine. The EUA also expands JYNNEOS eligibility to patients under the age of 18. The JYNNEOS vaccine is administered under the skin (subcutaneously or intradermally). Like the COVID-19 vaccines, JYNNEOS requires two doses. The two doses should be given four weeks apart, and the vaccine is fully effective two weeks after the second dose. Side effects are generally mild, and the vaccine is safe to give to people with weakened immune systems. The monkeypox vaccine can also be administered after monkeypox exposure to prevent the disease. Post-exposure vaccination is most effective if initiated within four days of exposure. However, the benefits of vaccination may still outweigh the risks for up to two weeks after exposure. People at high risk for severe disease, such as those with HIV or other immunocompromising conditions, should receive vaccine priority. 

Current Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines

The JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine remains in short supply, though availability is increasing. The CDC has developed vaccine eligibility guidelines to help target vaccination to the populations most at risk of contracting monkeypox. These guidelines prioritize three groups:

  1. Individuals with known exposure to monkeypox, preferably within four days of exposure. These individuals may be identified by public health contact tracing or a risk exposure assessment. Monkeypox is transmitted by close, skin-to-skin exposure to monkeypox lesions. 
  2. Individuals with presumed exposure to monkeypox. This includes individuals who are aware that a sexual partner was diagnosed with monkeypox in the past 14 days and certain gay, bisexual, trans, or other men who have sex with men. 
  3. Individuals with no known exposure to monkeypox who face a high occupational risk of contracting monkeypox. This includes those who perform diagnostic testing for monkeypox and health care workers assigned to response teams.

These guidelines may broaden as vaccine supplies increase. Additionally, if monkeypox continues to spread, the CDC may encourage more pre-exposure vaccination among high-risk groups. 

Strategies to Reach Patients Eligible for the Monkeypox Vaccine

Monkeypox vaccination is currently limited to specific groups with known exposure or very high risk of exposure. Because monkeypox spreads through close skin-to-skin contact, identifying exposure is likely easier than with airborne viruses like COVID-19. If your patients suspect they have been exposed to monkeypox, vaccination may be appropriate.  The current priority groups for monkeypox vaccination include marginalized populations like LGBTQ men. To meet the current eligibility guidelines for vaccination, patients may need to disclose private, sensitive information, like recent sexual activity. Your practice can encourage vaccination by providing a safe, non-stigmatizing, confidential space to document exposure and discuss any questions with clinical personnel.  For high-risk individuals who do not have direct evidence of exposure, you can make vaccination easier by offering self-scheduled appointments and online eligibility questionnaires. TempDev can help you configure the NextGen Patient Portal to allow patients to schedule their own vaccine appointments. You can also use the Portal to send reminders for second dose appointments and to follow up with patients via email. 

Making Monkeypox Vaccine Administration Easy

If your practice plans to offer the monkeypox vaccine, you need to prepare your NextGen EHR. TempDev’s Monkeypox Vaccine Clinic Template can help you chart and bill for monkeypox vaccination in just a few clicks per patient. With the Template, you won’t even need to open individual patient charts.  TempDev can also help you develop workflows to support rapid monkeypox testing and vaccination. Your practice has a vital role to play in stopping the spread of monkeypox. TempDev’s resources and consulting services can help you test and vaccinate more patients in less time while ensuring accurate billing. 

How TempDev Can Help Your Practice With Monkeypox Vaccine Administration

TempDev’s developers and consultants can help you prepare your NextGen EHR for the monkeypox vaccine. From vaccine workflows to billing, TempDev has the expertise you need to make monkeypox vaccination simple and straightforward for your staff and your patients. The Monkeypox Vaccine Clinic Template can help you minimize time spent charting and billing for vaccines, letting you see more patients. And TempDev can even help you develop NextGen EHR reports to identify high-risk patients for outreach and follow-up.  Call us at 888.TEMP.DEV or contact us here to start preparing your NextGen EHR for the monkeypox vaccine.