Monkeypox vaccine eligibility expanded in King County

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Monkeypox vaccine eligibility in King County is now expanded and simplified. The following individuals are encouraged to get the two-dose vaccine series: 

  • People who have had skin to skin or other close contact with someone with monkeypox.
  • Men and transgender individuals who have sex with men or who have sex with transgender individuals.  
  • Individuals of any gender or sexual orientation who engage in commercial or transactional sex. This might include people who have sex in exchange for money, shelter, food, for example.  

The vaccine is not currently recommended for members of the general public who are not at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Vaccine supplies were very limited in the beginning of the outbreak. The vaccine eligibility criteria prioritized only people at the very highest risk, such as people who had been exposed to a laboratory confirmed case of monkeypox or who had multiple sexual partners.  Now, vaccine is available to more people. 

Since the outbreak began in May, Public Health and our partners have vaccinated thousands of people. While new monkeypox case numbers are declining, we are not out of the woods yet. On average, one new case of monkeypox is identified each day and continues to present a threat to our community. If you fall into one of these three eligibility categories, you are recommended to start your two-dose series now.

“We encourage all those who are at higher risk to check out the different options for getting two doses of vaccine, including through many healthcare providers in our community such as the Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “The CDC recently shared new data that unvaccinated people who were considered eligible for the vaccine were 14 times more likely to become infected with MPX compared to those who had been vaccinated. This highlights the importance of getting vaccinated if you are at high risk.”  

Second doses

The CDC recommends that the two-dose monkeypox vaccine series be administered 28 days apart. Individuals who have not had the second dose are not as well protected

Where to get the vaccine

Vaccine is available at multiple locations in the community, so start by checking with your healthcare provider. Visit our monkeypox vaccine website for more details on hours and locations. Here are some of the options in our community:

  • The Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview (by appointment or walk-in)
  • Sea Mar clinics (walk-in)
  • Healthpoint Auburn North and Tukwila Clinics (by appointment only)
  • AIDS Healthcare Foundation (by appointment or walk-in).
  • Public Health is also facilitating community vaccination events by partnering with healthcare providers and community organizations to reach people at highest risk.

Reducing risk

In addition to vaccination, there are other ways to keep yourself safe, as well. These include: 

  • Limiting the number of sex and intimate contact partners. 
  • Avoiding venues where people wear minimal clothing and where there is direct skin-to-skin contact.  
  • Events where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact are safer. However, attendees should be mindful of activities (like kissing) that might spread monkeypox. 
  • Condoms may offer partial protection because they help prevent skin-to skin contact, particularly if there are sores or rashes on the genitals or anus  
  • Talk to your partner about new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including rashes on the genitals and anus, and other symptoms and follow up with your provider if you suspect monkeypox or have questions. 

Help us spread the word

With vaccine now more available, we need your help getting the word out to our community. Please share these social media graphics about eligibility expansion.

For more information about monkeypox and monkeypox vaccine, visit 

Originally posted 10/7/2022.