San Diego County will distribute about 600 doses of monkeypox vaccines to individuals at high-risk, or who recently attended Pride festivities and circuit or rave parties.

The county Health and Human Services Agency identified three probable and confirmed monkeypox cases. Vaccination clinics on Wednesday and Thursday will take place in response to the outbreak. 

“We want our community to be mindful of how monkeypox spreads,” said Cameron Kaiser, M.D., M.P.H., County deputy public health officer. “While it’s not inherently a sexually transmitted disease, close or body contact with somebody with monkeypox can pass the virus on to you. Ask potential partners about any rashes, and if you’re sick yourself, please stay home and consider seeking medical attention.”

The vaccination clinics are appointment based. County health officials said they continue to work with representatives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities on messaging and planning for the vaccination clinics. 

With constraints on the national supply of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, county officials also encourage gay, bisexual, transgender, and other men who have sex with men to abstain or practice safer sex to avoid getting and spreading the monkeypox virus.

“We appreciate people’s willingness to get vaccinated, and we hope to expand soon, but given the low supply of vaccines right now, we need to prioritize distribution of the doses we have,” Kaiser said. “If you suspect you may have been exposed to monkeypox, stay home, avoid contact with others, and call your medical provider. We can work with them to help protect you too.”

​​The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported it is not clear how the people were exposed to monkeypox, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases.

However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk of contracting the virus.

The California Department of Public Health reported a total of 186 probable and confirmed cases state-wide as of that afternoon of July 12. 

“Monkeypox is of public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox,” the agency wrote in a statement.    

For more information on monkeypox, visit the County’s monkeypox website.

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