Quick Takes

Kentucky lags nation on vaccines for mpox

By: - April 7, 2023 12:49 pm

In this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout graphic, symptoms of one of the first known cases of the mpox virus are shown on a patient’s hand June 5, 2003. (Photo Courtesy of CDC/Getty Images)

About one in five Kentuckians who are at risk for mpox — formerly called “monkeypox” — have received their vaccinations, Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday. 

The estimated at-risk population in Kentucky is 19,344, Beshear said. Of those, 21% got one dose of vaccine and 12% got two doses, compared to 37% and 23% nationally. 

Mpox is characterized by rashes, swollen lymph nodes, fever, cold-like symptoms and more. The disease comes from a virus in the smallpox family. 

Mpox spreads through close contact with an infected person, including sex, kissing, hugging and other intimate contact. A person is contagious until their scabs fall off and new skin forms underneath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Those at higher risk for severe outcomes from mpox, according to the CDC, are those younger than 1, pregnant people, the immunocompromised and people who have had atopic dermatitis or eczema. 

The CDC reported Kentucky had 104 cases as of March 29. The only neighboring state with fewer was West Virginia, with 12 cases. 

“We have these (vaccine) doses available for those who are interested,” Beshear said Friday.  

For a full list of Kentucky’s health departments offering vaccines, visit: https://www.chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/dehp/idb/Documents/MPXVaxLocations.pdf

The World Health Organization renamed mpox from “monkeypox” after concerns of “racist and stigmatizing language” associated with the former name. 

SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. AP and Getty images may not be republished. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of any other photos and graphics.

Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.

Kentucky Lantern is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

MORE FROM AUTHOR