MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — What can you do to protect yourself from contracting monkeypox? Health experts say a vaccine for the disease is available in Alabama – if you’re eligible.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the JYNNEOS vaccine is preferred for the current strain of monkeypox circulating throughout the United States. However, the vaccine is only available to those populations deemed eligible to receive one.

The groups listed by ADPH as eligible for a monkeypox vaccine include:

  • Those who have come into contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Those identifying as gay, bisexual, transgender, or are men with same-sex partners and report:
    • Multiple same-sex or anonymous partners
    • Having gone to an event where monkeypox could’ve been transmitted
  • Those deemed to be at a high risk of contracting monkeypox

ADPH also provided a list of activities that could put you at risk for monkeypox:

  • Unlikely: Touching a doorknob, being in a public restroom or using public transportation, traveling, swimming, shopping for groceries, trying on clothes at a store, working alongside another person, dancing at a crowded party with other fully clothed people
  • Some risk: Kissing, cuddling, sharing items like toothbrushes or drinks, sharing a bed or other personal item, dancing at a crowded party inside with non-fully clothed people
  • Highest risk: Direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs or bodily fluids, sexual or intimate contact

ADPH says monkeypox forms as a rash that goes through several stages, including a pimple-like appearance or scab. Other symptoms can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, and respiratory symptoms like a sore throat or congestion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alabama has recorded 59 cases of monkeypox. California has recorded the most cases in the country at 3,291 as of Monday, August 29, 2022.

The JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine is administered in two doses given 28 days apart. Learn more about where to get a monkeypox vaccine in Alabama on alabamapublichealth.gov.