BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Office of Public Health has monkeypox vaccines available at its parish health units.

According to LDH, 174 cases of monkeypox has been identified in the state since the start of 2022. In the Acadiana region alone, 9 cases have been reported.

“With the rising cases of monkeypox in our state, we want people who are at risk to know that we have vaccines available at our parish health units,” said Region 4 Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski. “Our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible to help protect themselves and their loved ones. All you have to do is call to make an appointment.”

Those that meet vaccine eligibility are encouraged to make an appointment at one of the following locations by going to ldh.la.gov/phu or calling 211:

  • Acadia Parish Health Unit
  • Acadiana Cares
  • Evangeline Parish Health Unit
  • Iberia Parish Health Unit
  • Lafayette Parish Health Unit
  • Lafayette Foundation Clinic
  • Ochsner Lafayette General Infectious Disease Clinic
  • St. Landry Parish Health Unit
  • St. Martin Parish Health Unit
  • Vermilion Parish Health Unit

Those who are eligible for the vaccine include:

  • Gay, bisexual, other (cis or trans) men who have sex with men OR transgender women and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men AND
  • Have had intimate or sexual contact with multiple or anonymous partners in last 14 days or
  • Have had intimate or sexual contact with other men in a social or sexual venue in the last 14 days
  • Individuals (of any sex/gender identity) who have given or received money or other goods/services in exchange for sex in the last 14 days
  • Individuals (of any sex/gender identity) who have been determined to be at high risk for monkeypox exposure by a healthcare provider or public health official.

While not new, monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness caused by a virus not commonly seen in the United States, that is spread through close physical contact. The disease can make you sick, including a possibly painful rash, which may look like bumps on your skin, blisters or ulcers. Some people have a flu-like illness before they develop a rash. 

According to CDC, early data suggest that gay, bisexual, same-gender-loving, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox can be infected, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.