County of Santa Clara Public Health Department Expands Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department is expanding eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine, as it continues to urge residents at risk to take precautions against the monkeypox virus and be aware of symptoms associated with infection. The Public Health Department will offer monkeypox vaccine to people meeting specific eligibility criteria by appointment only, starting this week. The Department is partnering with LGBTQ+ community organizations to offer appointments to individuals meeting the eligibility criteria. Previously, vaccine access had been by invitation only during contact tracing investigations, due to limited supply.
 
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. As of Tuesday, July 19, 2022, there had been 23 cases of monkeypox among Santa Clara County residents. Getting a vaccine before exposure or soon after exposure – ideally within 4 days but up to 14 days after – can help prevent becoming infected with the monkeypox virus.  
 
“The County is working diligently to distribute monkeypox vaccines equitably, in line with the CDC’s national monkeypox vaccine strategy,” said Dr. George Han, Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “This approach prioritizes vaccinating people who are at highest risk first. We have partnered with LGBTQ+ community organizations, who are an important part of local response to monkeypox, and we are grateful for their leadership and honored by their collaboration with us.”
 
Supply of monkeypox vaccine, which comes only from the federal government, remains extremely limited. The County previously received 742 doses of the Jynneos vaccine for the entire county, and 886 more doses of Jynneos vaccine were delivered to the County today. Many of the vaccine doses received by the County are being allocated to large healthcare systems, and many are also being administered directly by the County. The County is partnering with large healthcare systems to support them in delivering vaccines to their highest risk members.
 
“As has been the case across the country, more vaccine is needed from the federal government supply to meet local demand as more individuals test positive and vaccine eligibility expands over time to everyone who needs it,” added Dr. Han.
 
Due to the limited supply of monkeypox vaccine, the vaccine is now being made available in Santa Clara County by invitation or appointment only. With the additional doses from the federal government supply expected to arrive today, the County is expanding vaccine eligibility as follows.
 
People in Santa Clara County are now eligible for monkeypox vaccine if they: 

  • Had direct physical contact with someone confirmed to have monkeypox
  • Attended an event or venue where a person contagious with monkeypox was at the event or venue and had direct physical contact with other people there
  • Identify as a gay, bisexual, or other cisgender man who has sex with men (MSM), or as a transgender man or woman, who meets at least one of the following risk criteria: 
    • Have recent history of multiple or anonymous sex partners
    • Participate in group sex
    • Attend sex-on-premises venues (for example, bathhouse) or events
    • Work or volunteer at a bathhouse or sex club
    • Have had a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, in the prior 1 year
    • Perform sex work 

The Public Health Department anticipates broadening vaccine eligibility to additional individuals and communities at increased risk of exposure as soon as additional supply is delivered. Public Health is working with local LGBTQ+ organizations to spread awareness on eligibility and plan outreach events to share information about prevention, treatment, and vaccination. 
 
More information about monkeypox can be found here:
County of Santa Clara Public Health Department
California Department of Public Health
CDC

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