Get your monkeypox shot — what you need to know about the monkeypox vaccine

By Emen8, updated 9 months ago in Health / Sexual health

man with rolled up sleeve after getting monkeypox vaccine

Monkeypox was a hot minute last summer, but it’s not gone away yet. New cases are still happening overseas and in Australia. Two doses of vaccine at least 28 days apart protect you and others from monkeypox. If you’ve seen what having the virus can be like, there’s a strong case for avoiding it. Here’s how you can.

Nobody wants to imagine the worst happening on holiday. But that’s what we get insurance for. Thanks to a vaccine, thousands of guys across Australia already have insurance against getting monkeypox (also known as MPOX, MPX or MPXV).

However, community transmission is still happening internationally, and local cases are reappearing too — now’s the time to vaccinate, especially if you’re heading overseas. Remember, reaching full protection takes at least 6 weeks, so book now before the party starts!

Ready to find your nearest monkeypox vaccination location? Head over to our interactive map.

For a simple guide to monkeypox symptoms, transmission and prevention, check out What is monkeypox, and what does it mean for guys in Australia?

In this article:

Monkeypox vaccination key points

  • A safe and effective monkeypox vaccine is available now to eligible people
  • The vaccine is provided free of charge
  • Maximum protection requires 2 doses of vaccine given at least 28 days apart
  • It takes 2 weeks for each dose of vaccine to reach the highest level of protection in your body
  • Vaccinate ahead of travel and party events and as soon as possible in your state or territory

About the monkeypox vaccine

A safe, effective and free monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS®) is now available to eligible people aged 18 years and over. The vaccine is suitable for people living with HIV and those with weakened immune systems.

Vaccinating is shown to be effective at stopping the virus from spreading.

Australia’s vaccination program has already curbed the largest outbreaks of local transmissions in Melbourne and Sydney. Vaccinate as soon as you can in your state or territory.

“The monkeypox vaccine is free to eligible people with or without Medicare.”

One dose of vaccine is good at protecting you from monkeypox. Two doses will provide you with the best protection coverage.

It takes 2 weeks from your first dose for the vaccine to provide good protection. Maximum protection occurs around 2 weeks after your second dose. You must wait at least 28 days before receiving your second dose.

The vaccine is most effective when you get it before coming in to contact monkeypox. However, if you’re a close contact of someone with monkeypox, act fast — vaccinating within 4 days provides your best chance to avoid symptoms. Vaccinating between 4 and 14 days after exposure may help lessen the severity of symptoms.

With party season coming up it’s best to vaccinate (with two doses) well in advance and as soon as you can. See below for information on eligibility criteria in your state or territory.

bisexual couple happy knowing monkeypox vaccines are available

Who can get the monkeypox vaccine?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) provides national clinical guidance on vaccination against monkeypox. Vaccinating is recommended for:

  • All cisgender and transgender gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, particularly:
  • Gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men planning travel to a country with a monkeypox outbreak (vaccination is recommended 4-6 weeks before departure)
  • Anyone who has been a close contact of someone with monkeypox in the past 14 days
  • Sex workers, particularly those who work with gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system

For anyone who has received a smallpox vaccine more than ten years ago, one booster dose of monkeypox vaccine is recommended.

States and territories are responsible for rolling out the vaccine to local communities. Eligibility criteria may vary between jurisdictions. Click on your state or territory to find out more: ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA

For more about monkeypox vaccines, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Where can I get the monkeypox vaccine?

Find your nearest monkeypox vaccination location using our interactive map.

Our map also shows nearby HIV and STI testing services, rapid HIV testing services, and peer-run testing services operated by other gay and bisexual guys. If it’s been more than three months since you last tested, book in for a sexual health check-up while you’re getting your monkeypox shot.

“One dose of vaccine is good at protecting you from monkeypox. Two doses will provide you with the best protection coverage.”

Find local information about getting a monkeypox vaccine from LGBTI health organisations and government websites in your state or territory:

Register for monkeypox vaccination online

Some jurisdictions have an online register for monkeypox vaccination. Register your interest in:

How much does the monkeypox vaccine cost?

The monkeypox vaccine is free to eligible people with or without Medicare. If you have Medicare, bring your Medicare card to your appointment.

Some monkeypox vaccination locations may charge a fee for your appointment — check with the service before attending.

Are there monkeypox vaccination side effects?

As with most vaccinations, there’s a chance you might experience some redness, swelling or itching at the injection site. If you do experience these, they’re typically mild, easily tolerated and don’t last long. Some people also report short-lived muscle aches, headache or fatigue after vaccination. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned.

Your vaccination specialist will provide you with a vaccine consent form containing important patient information. This is also available online at the Australian Government Department of Health website.

I’ve had 1 dose of monkeypox vaccine. Do I need a 2nd dose?

If you’ve only had one dose of monkeypox vaccine, getting a second dose now will provide you with the best possible protection.

If your first dose was administered by intradermal injection, you can now receive your second dose as a subcutaneous injection. See below for more on how the vaccine is given.

Is there more than one monkeypox vaccine?

Two vaccines are approved for use in Australia against monkeypox: JYNNEOS® and ACAM2000™. JYNNEOS® is preferred because it’s a more modern vaccine that’s suitable for most people, and it’s easier to administer. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be offered ACAM2000™ in Australia.

“Don’t delay — get your monkeypox shot today.”

The JYNNEOS® vaccine is safe for people living with HIV. The ACAM2000™ vaccine is not suitable for people living with HIV.

If you are living with HIV

People living with HIV who use effective HIV treatment are at no greater risk of monkeypox than HIV-negative people. However, people living with HIV who are not on effective HIV treatment and have weakened immune systems may experience more severe or prolonged monkeypox symptoms.

Although there is limited evidence on monkeypox in HIV-positive people, people living with HIV are advised to follow the same advice as the general population. Contact your HIV treatment specialist or local HIV organisation if you have any concerns.

man confidently sips coffee after vaccinating for monkeypox

How is the monkeypox vaccine given?

There are two approved ways to administer the JYNNEOS® vaccine. Both provide the same level of protection against monkeypox:

  • Intradermal injection delivers the vaccine into the outer layers of the skin
  • Subcutaneous injection delivers the vaccine beneath, or under, all the layers of the skin

Both injection methods are suitable for most people. However, the intradermal injection method is not recommended for people with weakened immune systems, people with a history of keloid scarring, or those seeking vaccination after being a close contact of someone with monkeypox.

You can receive both doses by the same injection method or different ones. For example, if you receive one dose of vaccine by intradermal injection, you can receive your second dose by subcutaneous injection.

Participate in community research

TraX is a national study to track community responses to the monkeypox outbreak. Participants are asked to complete a brief, 1-minute survey about the monkeypox vaccine, testing and sexual behaviours.

Participation is voluntary and will help shape the public health response to prevent the spread of monkeypox. For every questionnaire you complete, you’ll enter into a weekly raffle to win one of 15 electronic gift cards valued at $50 each.

For more information and to take part, visit the TraX Study website.