Monkeypox marks on a hand. Photo credit: NHS England High Consequence Infection Diseases Network/CDC.

Maryland’s monkeypox vaccine supply remains scarce, and the state might have to wait until fall to receive more doses, Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday.

Maryland has confirmed 129 monkeypox cases to date, with the state’s first monkeypox case confirmed on June 16.

The federal government has given the Maryland Department of Health enough monkeypox vaccine doses to vaccinate 3,202 patients using the two-shot Jynneos vaccine.

“While vaccine supply from the federal government is severely limited at this time, anyone who believes that they may need testing or treatment should contact their healthcare provider or local health department immediately,” Hogan said in a statement. “We will keep pressing the federal government to provide more vaccines to the states and do all we can to make resources available to those at risk.”

The state is prioritizing vaccinations for healthcare workers, laboratory staff, individuals identified through contact tracing or self-identification as having been in close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, and members of high-risk populations.

“Due to the limited supply of the vaccine from the federal government, the state is working closely with local health partners to make doses available in a manner that focuses on locations that have case counts and higher-risk populations,” MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan said in a statement. “We plan to expand access to the vaccine as more supply becomes available.”

State officials said that MDH and local health departments are conducting “extensive contact tracing” to identify individuals who have been in close contact with confirmed monkeypox cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, and/or a painful or itchy rash.

The rash may resemble pimples or blisters. It may be located on or near the genitals or anus, but may also be located on other parts of the body including hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.

Marylanders who believe they have been exposed to monkeypox or those who are exhibiting symptoms could be related to monkeypox should contact their medical provider or their local health department.

Monkeypox testing is currently available through commercial labs and the state health department’s state public health laboratory. Tests cannot be purchased in stores.

Patients should isolate at home while awaiting their test results.

“We want to emphasize that the goal is limiting the spread of the virus and vaccinating those who may have been exposed in the prior two weeks,” Chan said.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...