The state health department says that Illinois is receiving an “immediate allocation” of monkeypox vaccines as the state records the third most monkeypox cases in the United States.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is receiving the vaccines from the national stockpile.
IDPH will initially receive 1,291 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine while the Chicago Department of Public Health will be receiving a separate initial amount of 3,200 doses.
Federal authorities said the number of vaccine doses available is expected to increase substantially during the coming months.
The CDC is also taking steps to increase testing capacity, IDPH said.
The CDC has reported 53 probable monkeypox virus cases in Illinois with the vast majority in Chicago and the remaining cases in Cook, DuPage, Kane and Lake counties.
Monkeypox virus is a disease that health officials say does not spread easily between people without close contact.
“The threat of monkeypox to the general U.S. population remains low,” IDPH said.
The vaccine doses distributed to Illinois will be available in counties that have experienced at least one case of the virus.
The vaccine will be designated for individuals at higher risk of exposure, which includes those who have had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox virus or presumed exposure to the virus.
It will also be available for those at occupational risk of exposure, such as lab workers, selected clinicians and response team members.
IDPH said the strategy aims to mitigate the spread of the virus in communities where transmission has been the highest and with populations most at risk.
The CDC is tracking multiple clusters of monkeypox that have been reported since the first case in the U.S. was confirmed on May 18.
The CDC has informed healthcare providers throughout the country to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox.
Anyone can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items that have been contaminated with fluids of a person with monkeypox, according to IDPH.
Monkeypox virus can also spread between people through respiratory droplets typically in a close setting, such as the same household or a healthcare setting.
Common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus, officials said.