Contra Costa expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility

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Contra Costa expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility
Photo courtesy of the CDC.

Starting today, “all LGBTQ men and men who have sex with men” are eligible to receive the monkeypox (MPX) vaccine at County-run vaccination sites. An increase in supply of the Jynneos vaccine prompted the expansion in eligibility.

Currently, the County has clinics in Richmond and Concord that accept registrations and walk-ins as capacity allows. The Richmond clinic is located at Richmond Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza. The clinic’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

First doses of Jynneos vaccine were previously only available to people who had contact with a known MPX case, sex workers or LGBTQ men who had more than one sexual partner in the last 14 days.

“While anyone can get MPX, not everyone is at equal risk,” County officials said. “During the current global outbreak, cases have been overwhelmingly among LGBTQ men and men who have sex with men.”

The County also recently expanded eligibility for second doses of Jynneos to anyone who has already received their first dose. Previous to that, second doses were reserved only for immunocompromised people.

The vaccine protects against MPX and helps reduce spread of the virus, said health officials. Once symptoms start, however, it’s too late for the vaccine to work.

Since the start of the outbreak, Contra Costa Health (CCH) reported it has administered over 3,700 doses of MPX vaccine from its Richmond and Concord clinics and several pop-up clinics. There have been almost 3,900 confirmed or probable cases of MPX in California, including 72  in Contra Costa. No one in the state has died from MPX during the current outbreak, according to health officials. There have been some hospitalizations in the state, often for pain management.

According to CCH, “MPX cases recently appear to have plateaued, although this could change.”

MPX spreads primarily through skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, with an infected rash, and symptoms begin 14 days after exposure. Flulike symptoms and a potentially painful rash that can look like blisters, pimples or herpes warts can follow. Infected people remain contagious until all symptoms have resolved and the rash is fully healed, a process that can take 2-4 weeks, with most people recovering at home, according to CCH.

For more information about MPX and to make an appointment for the vaccine clinic, visit cchealth.org/mpx or call at (833) 829-2626.