Monkeypox vaccines exist, but they're limited

Monkeypox vaccines exist, but they're limited
BONDUA, LIBERIA - UNDATED: In this 1971 Center For Disease Control handout photo, monkeypox-like lesions are shown on the arm and leg of a female child in Bondua, Liberia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said June 7 the viral disease monkeypox, thought to be spread by prairie dogs, has been detected in the Americas for the first time. Photo credit CDC/Getty Images

Monkeypox has been diagnosed in Louisiana, but there are vaccines to protect against it. However, there are also a couple of caveats.

LSU infectious disease professor Dr. Julio Figueroa says there are two vaccines, but one requires special handling, and the other is in short supply.

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"It's a live-virus vaccine, and therefore actually needs to be handled very carefully," Dr. Figueroa said of one of the options. "It's not something you would do like the COVID-19 vaccine which is easily distributed across large populations."

He says it is also not suitable for anyone who's immuno-compromised.

"The other vaccine which is safe in immuno-compromised individuals is in pretty short supply," he said. "As we get more stockpiles, we may be able to start vaccinating more individuals, certainly around people who've been exposed, but also maybe people who are vulnerable."

So do you have reason to worry about catching monkey pox? Dr. Figueroa says it is not transmitted the way COVID is. He says it takes very close contact, usually skin-to-skin, or more intimate contact. It can also be contracted by handling the clothing of someone who has been infected.

Dr. Figueroa said the death rate from this strain of the virus has been low. The CDC reports it to be around one percent, but it may be higher in people with compromised immune systems.

Featured Image Photo Credit: CDC/Getty Images