Eligible people can now schedule monkeypox (MPX) vaccinations by booking an appointment at mpxvaccine.cchealth.org, according to Contra Costa Health Services.
Previously, one had to submit a request to get on a waiting list for a vaccine in the County, but increased vaccine supply is enabling County health officials to allow community members to directly schedule their own appointments without having to be on a waiting list.
As of Aug. 16, there have been 40 confirmed or probable MPX cases in Contra Costa. The Bay Area has the highest MPX case rate in the state with 2,356. There have been no deaths in the U.S. from MPX this year, and most people recover from the illness at home, although the rash and sores can be very painful, according to health officials.
“We know people are eager to get immunized against MPX and adding online scheduling will make access to the vaccine in Contra Costa a lot easier and more convenient,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, health officer for the County.
County COVID vaccine sites in Richmond and Concord will offer the MPX vaccine. The County is also planning pop-up clinics with community partners serving the LGBTQ community in the near future. Officials encourage residents to check with their healthcare providers about getting vaccinated.
Due to limited vaccine supply, people at higher risk of exposure or infection are being prioritized to receive the MPX vaccine, “such as close contacts of known cases, sex workers and gay, bisexual, and other men or trans people who have had more than one sexual partner in the past 14 days,” officials said. Anyone can get MPX, which primarily spreads through skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact. However, the “large majority” of current cases are among men who identify as gay or bisexual, particularly men who have had sex with multiple men, health officials said.
“The MPX vaccine, Jynneos, can be given preventatively or up to four days after an exposure to the virus,” according to County officials. “After symptoms appear, it’s too late and the vaccine won’t help. Anitviral treatment known as TPOXX may be available to people sick with MPX; people should check with their regular providers about treatment options.”
People infected with MPX develop rashes or sores that can look like pimples and blisters. A person is containgious from the time symptoms appear till they no longer have symptoms and rashes have fully healed, which can take 2-4 weeks, officails said.