The Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health Region 9 (Northshore) has monkeypox vaccines available at its parish health units (PHUs).
As of September 14, Louisiana has identified 217 cases of monkeypox in Louisiana residents since the start of the 2022 U.S. Monkeypox outbreak. In the Northshore region, 11 cases have been identified to date.
"The most effective public health action people at risk can take to protect themselves against monkeypox is vaccination," said Region 9 Medical Director Dr. Gina Lagarde. "Monkeypox vaccine is available in our parish health units. Just call to make an appointment."
Those that meet vaccine eligibility are encouraged to make an appointment at one of the following locations by calling the PHU phone number below or by calling 211:
- Tangipahoa Parish Health Unit, 15481 W. Club Deluxe Road, Hammond, 985-543-4165
- Livingston Parish Health Unit, 20399 Government Blvd., Livingston, 225-686-7017
- Washington Parish Health Unit, 626 Carolina Ave. Bogalusa, 985-732-6615
As of August 31, 2022, the expanded criteria for vaccination include people in Louisiana who meet one of the following:
- Gay/bisexual men or transgender people who are sexually active with more than one partner
- Anyone who is at high risk of monkeypox exposure. This includes but is not limited to people who:
- Are HIV positive or receive medicines to prevent HIV infection (PrEP)
- Are experiencing homelessness
- Use IV drugs
- Give or receive money or other goods in exchange for sex
- Have significant, skin-to-skin contact with others in a social or sexual venue
- Work at establishments where sexual or intimate activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs, hotels)
- Clinicians or laboratory staff who are at high risk of occupational exposure
- Anyone who has been determined to be at high risk 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.
Testing for or monkeypox is now widely available. If you have symptoms and would like to be tested for monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider. Anyone without a provider or insurance can also be tested at their local parish health unit or community clinic: ldh.la.gov/phu
If your test for monkeypox is positive, stay isolated until your rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
People interested in receiving the vaccine can visit the LDH monkeypox webpage for information, including a list of locations in Louisiana that have received vaccine. People can also call 211 to get their monkeypox questions answered.