Updates to the monkeypox vaccine:
What patients need to know

Key Points

  • The monkeypox vaccine can be given as a deeper injection with a bigger dose, or a more shallow injection with a smaller dose.
  • Supplies of monkeypox vaccine are very limited.
  • Using the shallow injection method lets us give more doses to more people.
  • Both options give you the same level of immunity.

When the vaccine is placed between the layers of the skin, a small, harmless blister called a “bleb” will form. It’s temporary, and is how you know the vaccine is in the right place. Please talk to your medical provider if you have a history of scarring or keloid formation.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the shallow dose optional?
    In NYC, the shallow dose is required for people ages 18+.
  • Is the shallow dose a lower dose?
    When vaccines are placed between layers of the skin, a smaller amount is needed. So less vaccine liquid is placed into the needle but the effectiveness is the same.
  • What if my first dose wasn’t done this way?
    You’ll get the same level of protection no matter how your doses were injected!

More Information

What does it mean to get a “shallow dose”?

Injections can be given in different ways, which means the medicine or vaccine goes into different layers of the body.
The monkeypox vaccine can either be given as a “subcutaneous” injection into the layers of fat, or “intradermal” which means it goes in between the very top layers of skin.

Types of injections, with a shallow dose on the right.
Types of injections, with a shallow dose on the right.
  • Will my side effects be different with a shallow dose?
    Studies have shown that redness was common with both options, though it may last longer with the shallow dose. The deeper injection is more likely to cause pain at the injection site; the shallow dose may cause itching, and a few people have had nodules, or soft lumps, develop at the injection site.
  • Why have we switched to shallow doses?
    With this vaccine, the deeper the injection goes, the more vaccine there needs to be in the shot. By moving the injection up to the top layer of skin, a smaller amount of the vaccine is needed. That means there’s more vaccine to go around: what would have been a deeper vaccine for one person can now be a more shallow injection for up to five people!
Your medical provider can answer any questions you have, and these resources can provide more information: