- How is the VA addressing the monkeypox outbreak?
VA continues to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clinical, infection control, and contact investigation guidance. VA has chartered a Monkeypox coordination team that is working rapidly with field and program office stakeholders and subject matter experts to:
- Provide clinical guidance in the field.
- To purchase and distribute vaccines in a transparent and fair manner.
- Standardize and expand internal VA monkeypox testing capacity.
- create monitoring and analytical tools; Use our research expertise and resources to develop a VA monkeypox research agenda and initiate appropriate studies.
- Develop communication products for employees and our veterans.
- Do all VA medical facilities have monkeypox vaccines in stock?
VA will develop a distribution plan for monkeypox vaccine to ensure uniform distribution to VA facilities based on anticipated patient need, after VA receives the initial allocation of vaccine.
- With limited current national vaccine supplies, what plan is VA following to manage its monkeypox vaccine allocation?
VA will receive approximately 13,000 vials (up to 65,000 doses) of JYNNEOS™ monkeypox vaccine from the Department of Health and Human Services. Once the VA receives the initial allotment of vaccine, it will begin providing JYNNEOS™ vaccine to Veterans at risk of infection.
- Are Veterans and SAVE LIVES Act recipients eligible to receive the Monkeypox vaccine at the VA?
Anyone who comes into direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person can get monkey pox. The current outbreak has, for now, disproportionately affected gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who should be prioritized for vaccination based on their individual risk. VA is following CDC guidelines and prioritizing individuals for vaccine based on their individual risk.
If VA does not have supplies available for veteran patients, VA will coordinate with local health departments to obtain monkeypox vaccine. At this time, Save Lives Act eligibility is limited to the COVID-19 vaccine.
- How do veterans know if their local VA medical facility is offering the chickenpox vaccine?
Veterans are encouraged to visit their local medical facility’s website for the latest updates and contact information.
- Is testing for monkeypox available through the VA?
Monkeypox testing is currently available at VA facilities in Palo Alto, California through the VA Public Health Reference Laboratory, states, or commercial laboratories.
- Are there antivirals against monkeypox?
There are currently no antivirals approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of epilepsy; However, antivirals developed against smallpox are available as investigational drugs from the CDC. VA has signed a reliance agreement with the CDC’s Human Subjects Protection Committee to access these drugs when indicated to treat patients with severe monkey pox.
- How long does monkeypox last?
Monkeypox usually takes two to four weeks to run its course. If you’ve been exposed to monkeypox, your provider will monitor you until the rash resolves.
- Is monkey pox fatal?
A less severe Clade II strain is causing the current world outbreak (2022). So far, no one has died from the outbreak in the United States. But monkeypox can cause other problems (complications) such as pneumonia and infections of your brain (encephalitis) or eyes, which can be fatal.
- Where can employees go with questions?
VHA has established a resource room where employees can submit questions that will be forwarded to the appropriate subject matter experts.