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Ask Dr. D: Why Isn't My Monkeypox Spot Going Away?

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Biden's HIV & MPX czar, Demetre Daskalakis, explains what's normal post-vaccine and why certain folks should reconsider where to get the shot.

Are you one of the 1 million+ plus people who received a Monkeypox vaccine? If so, you may be breathing easier knowing that if you catch the disease — which the Centers for Disease Control continues to call a public health emergency — you will be subject to less extreme symptoms, which can include lesions and excruciating pain.

But if you are one of those 1 million+, you may have also experienced an itchy, uncomfortable spot where the shot was administered; typically on the forearm. As opposed to flu or COVID-19 shots, the MPX spot can last weeks, barely fading or getting more comfortable for days on end. Is this normal and why are vaccine reactions so different? We posed this question to legendary gay doctor, Demetre Daskalakis, who is President Biden’s MPX adviser and director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention in the National Center for HIV/AIDS.

“The intradermal vaccination approach is safe and effective against the spread of MPOX, and has allowed hundreds of thousands of Americans to receive their vaccine,” Daskalakis tells Plus. “This route of administration has also enabled the United States to aggressively combat MPOX, helping to lower cases by over 85% since the peak of the outbreak. The spot from the intradermal administration of the vaccine can last for several weeks, but resolves over time. The itchiness can also last for a few weeks in some people, but is no need for alarm. People who have keloid, a condition that results in thicker, raised scars should not get the intradermal vaccine to avoid more permanent marks and should opt for the subcutaneous route. To minimize the visibility of the spot, people can choose to get the vaccine on skin other than their forearm, such as on their upper back or shoulder that is covered with clothing.”

For more information on MPX, visit the CDC’s site here. To read more about Dr. Daskalakis click here. 

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