SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – San Francisco will be getting “more than double” the monkeypox vaccines it got in prior allotments in its next, the city’s department of public health announced midday Tuesday, as state and federal partners work to show they are taking the outbreak seriously after criticism.
The announcement comes just one day after Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency over the outbreak, which has infected 827 Californians, according to the latest United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers, and the same day U.S. President Joe Biden named federal officials to coordinate the White House’s response.
DPH tweeted that the California Department of Public Health will be providing 10,700 vaccine doses to the city, though “there is no date yet for the arrival of this allotment.”
“We will let the community know when it becomes available,” the tweet stated. A subsequent tweet thanked Newsom for his emergency declaration, as well as San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who beat Newsom to the punch by declaring an emergency last week.
DPH did not answer an immediate request for comment on if the larger number of vaccines being delivered is due to these states of emergency, or is separate. The last allotment, announced July 27, was for 4,220 vaccine doses.
San Francisco has still not received the 35,000 vaccines health officials requested, the city has already indicated it will not be providing second doses until much later than originally promised (to some, at least) due to a lack of vaccine supply from the federal government, and lines to get vaccinated are still long, with San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Tyler TerMeer saying at an early Tuesday press conference that 10,000 people are on the vaccine waiting list at the foundation’s Magnet clinic at Strut, in the Castro neighborhood.
The Jynneos vaccine being used to inoculate people for monkeypox, which also protects against smallpox, can only be produced by one Danish company, Bavarian Nordic.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox include onset of flu-like symptoms and distinctive rashes or sores that could look like pimples or blisters. CDC statistics show the most commonly-reported symptoms are rash (99%), malaise (70%) and fever (64%).
While the red, flat spots which become bumps can be anywhere on the body, they are most likely in the current outbreak to affect the genital or rectal areas, or the fingers, mouth or eyes. The spots become bumps, which break and crust over into a scab. They may be itchy, but not necessarily.
Further, some people only get one or some of these symptoms; it is possible to have a fever but never a rash, or have these symptoms sequentially and not concurrently.
What is the monkeypox vaccine?
The monkeypox virus is in the orthopoxvirus family alongside smallpox, for which routine vaccination in the U.S. ended in 1972 after the disease was declared eradicated here. Jynneos, a vaccine approved for both smallpox and monkeypox, is at least 85% effective against monkeypox, though its effectiveness reduces over time.
Getting the vaccine within 14 days of exposure can prevent or mitigate disease risk, as the incubation period can be weeks.
Healthcare providers should test for other infections with similar symptoms, such as syphilis. Tests for monkeypox are confirmed at specialized labs.
Side-effects of the vaccine could include redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and nausea.
KRON ON is streaming live
Who can get a monkeypox infection?
CDC and DPH statistics show the current outbreak is primarily affecting men who have sex with men; though at least 13 U.S. cases as of July 25 have been diagnosed in people who were assigned female sex at birth. The virus is spread through close skin-on-skin contact and an adviser on sexually transmitted infections with the World Health Organization stated experts have not determined whether it is a sexually transmitted infection per se, though it is “clearly transmitted during sex.”
However, DPH spokesperson Noel Sanchez cautions that anyone could become infected with the monkeypox virus.
“SFDPH takes monkeypox seriously,” Sanchez stated. “While most cases resolve on their own without pills or treatment, monkeypox can be serious. We are trying to contain outbreaks and reduce transmission to avoid the virus spreading to more people and potentially becoming endemic. To that end, we are doing education and outreach to communities most at risk; tracking monkeypox cases; distributing and administering vaccines as a preventative measure to people at high risk because of an exposure; and supporting testing and clinical guidance to providers, among other efforts.”
Sanchez advises people to:
- cover exposed skin in crowds
- avoid sharing bedding and clothing
- talk with close physical and sexual contacts about health, rashes and sores
- be aware of symptoms
Sanchez also told KRON4 that this new allotment of vaccines “is not necessarily related” to the states of emergency declared in San Francisco and California.