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Skin redness after intradermal monkeypox vaccination shouldn't cause alarm

Line to receive a monkeypox vaccine in Brooklyn
Kena Betancur
A person waits in line to receive a monkeypox vaccine in Brooklyn, N.Y., this month. Federal data show Florida has the third most cases of the disease, after California and New York.

A South Florida ARNP wants people to know that temporary skin redness at the injection site of the Jynneos shot is normal. Meantime, HHS says it can soon expand the number of distribution locations for monkeypox vaccines.

Health care providers recently switched to a skin-deep method of administering the Jynneos vaccine against monkeypox after it was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

This type of vaccination, called intradermal, uses one-fifth of the dose that was previously administered into the fat tissue beneath the skin, or subcutaneously. The change allows the supply of Jynneos vaccines to stretch to more patients.

Joel Ramos Morales, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at Latinos Salud, wants people to know that skin redness at the injection site for some three to four days is normal.

"[The intradermal vaccination] will go in between the layers of the skin, and that’s why it’s getting the redness because the area is more sensitive," Ramos Morales explained at a Latinos Salud location in Miami Beach. "It’s very safe, it’s very minimal side effect and it only lasts a few days. It’s better to prevent to get the disease."

Latinos Salud, which offers health and education resources to the South Florida gay community, says people shouldn't feel scared to begin their vaccination or get their second shot because of concerns about side effects. These symptoms are being reported more than after the subcutaneous injection, which was how the Jynneos vaccine was being given previously.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people, "particularly adolescent or young adult males, might consider waiting four weeks" after taking the monkeypox vaccine before taking a round of COVID-19 vaccinations.

That's because of a possible risk for myocarditis as well as pericarditis that has been observed after receiving the ACAM2000 orthopoxvirus vaccine - used against smallpox - and some COVID-19 vaccines. Experts don't know if this risk exists with the Jynneos vaccine, but they are concerned it may be possible due to similarities in the vaccines.

In general, a person should get the second Jynneos shot 28 days after the first one. It takes two shots and about two weeks after the second injection to get the strongest protection against monkeypox.

Meantime, the Department of Health and Human Services says it will expand the number of distribution locations for monkeypox vaccines and treatments through a new $20 million contract with AmerisourceBergen Corp.

The contract will allow the agency to expand its distribution rate to 2,500 locations of Jynneos vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile as well as shipments of the antiviral drug TPOXX.

In a news release, the agency says the agreement will speed the delivery "of these medical countermeasures to communities at the greatest risk of monkeypox infections."

According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida has confirmed 1,318 monkeypox cases this year through Tuesday - with the most, by far, in Miami-Dade (499) and Broward (464) counties.

Federal data show Florida has the third most cases of the disease, after California and New York.

Men who have sex with men and people with compromised immune systems because of HIV or cancer, for instance, are still being prioritized for the vaccines.

Health News Florida producer Rick Mayer contributed to this report.

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Verónica Zaragovia