Wisconsin expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility, sees racial disparities in distribution

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has expanded the criteria for monkeypox vaccine eligibility, according to a statement Tuesday.

The DHS also called on vaccine providers to minimize barriers it says are preventing Wisconsin’s communities of color from getting the care they need, citing DHS data that suggests over 50% of Wisconsin cases are within communities of color but less than 22% of those vaccinated are non-white.

DHS vaccination criteria include “presumed contacts” of those who have contracted the virus, known contacts discovered during contact tracing and anyone considered to have an elevated exposure risk. Read more details HERE.

DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake says Wisconsin’s rate of new infections is slowing.

The state is working to get more doses of vaccines, and the DHS says it continues to prioritize those who are most likely to be exposed to the virus. Wisconsin has received all the vaccines the federal government will allow and expects to receive more doses in the future.

As of Tuesday, DHS has reported 63 instances of monkeypox in Wisconsin. Most of those are said to be men who have had sexual contact with other men but the DHS does not say the virus is exclusive to that group.