How Do I Keep from Getting Monkeypox?

Published: August 31, 2022
Melody Berg
By Melody Berg, PharmD, MPH, BCPS

Cases of monkeypox in the United States have been rising in recent months. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting infected with monkeypox.


Avoid exposure
Monkeypox is transmitted by coming into contact with sores or respiratory secretions of infected people. It can also be transmitted by touching or handling clothing, bedding, and objects used by an infected individual.


You can keep from getting infected by avoiding contact with the sores of an individual infected with monkeypox. Do not hug, cuddle, kiss, or have sex with someone infected with monkeypox.


Do not share cups or eating utensils with someone infected, and do not handle or touch bedding, clothing, or towels from a person infected with monkeypox. Make sure you use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water often, especially after using the bathroom or before eating or touching your face.


Consider vaccination
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following people should get the vaccine:

  • Anyone who has been identified by a public health department as being in contact with someone with monkeypox
  • Anyone who is aware that a sexual partner within the prior 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Anyone who has had multiple sexual partners within the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox
  • Anyone whose job may expose them to monkeypox or similar viruses like smallpox, including lab workers who perform tests for these viruses or handle cultures, and healthcare or public health workers.

 What vaccines are available?

There are two vaccines available that offer protection against monkeypox. Jynneos has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent monkeypox or smallpox. It is given as two shots 4 weeks apart. It takes 14 days after the second dose to be fully effective.


ACAM2000 has been approved to prevent smallpox, and it is expected to be effective at preventing monkeypox too. It is given as one dose and is fully effective 4 weeks after the shot is given.


ACAM2000 has more side effects than Jynneos and should not be used in patients with compromised immune systems. Both vaccines can cause injection site reactions, but ACAM2000 has been found to be associated with some cases of pericarditis or myocarditis.


Talk to your pharmacist if you think you may qualify for the vaccine or need help finding where you can go to get the vaccine.


Related content
Do I Have Monkeypox?

How Do I Get Monkeypox?

I Have Monkeypox: What Should I Do?

Smallpox/Monkeypox Vaccine

Should I be Concerned About a Monkeypox Outbreak?


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