Last Updated August 17, 2022 at 10:57 a.m.
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The Biden administration, California and the City and County of San Francisco have all declared a state of emergency over the 2022 monkeypox virus outbreak. In just a few months there have been over 30,000 worldwide cases — with more than 10,000 in the United States alone.
Local political and health leaders have blasted the early federal response to the outbreak, comparing it to the initial federal responses to the viruses that cause AIDS and COVID-19. However, this time there are highly effective vaccines, though they are in short supply, leading to long lines nationwide.
Here is where to get a vaccine to protect you from monkeypox in the Bay Area:
City and County of San Francisco
People who live and work in San Francisco are eligible to be vaccinated if they are one of the following:
- Gay, bisexual and other men or trans people who have sex with men, who’ve had more than one sexual partner in the past two weeks,
- a sex worker,
- someone who has had close contact in the past two weeks with someone with a suspected or confirmed monkeypox infection,
- someone who has had close contact with others at a venue or event within a social group in the past two weeks where a suspected or confirmed monkeypox case was identified, including people who’ve recieved notice from a venue or an event of a potential exposure in the past two weeks,
- laboratory workers who routinely perform monkeypox virus testing, or
- clinicians who have a high risk of occupation exposure.
For people meeting these requirements, there is a walk-in clinic at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital that is usually open on the second floor of Building 30 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There are also locations that have vaccine supplies by appointment only. According to DPH, these and their numbers are:
- “Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic (AITC) patients call: 415-554-2625
- Strut patients: call 415-581-1600
- Kaiser-Permanente patients: call 415-833-9999
- SF Health Network patients: call your provider or health center directly
- UCSF patients and non-patients: call 415-502-3566″
People interested in getting vaccinated can sign up for a waiting list at Magnet, a sexual health clinic run by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation at Strut in the Castro neighborhood. Calls to City Clinic in the south of Market neighborhood, where vaccines have been given in the past, were not returned.
Santa Clara County
People in Santa Clara County are eligible for the monkeypox vaccine if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Have had “direct physical contact” with someone confirmed to have monkeypox,
- Attended an event or venue where a person contagious with the monkeypox virus was at the event or venue and had “direct physical contact” with others there,
- Is a gay, bisexual or other cisgender man who has sex with men, or is a transgender man or woman who has sex with men, and meets at least one of the following criteria: has a recent history of multiple or anonymous sexual partners, participates in group sex, attends or works at sex-on-premises venues, such as bathhouses or sex clubs, is a sex worker, and/or has been diagnosed with at least one bacterial sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, in the past 12 months.
Eligible individuals can register for upcoming clinics at https://vax.sccgov.org/. Prior clinics have been held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Expo Hall in San Jose.
Pop-up vaccination sites are being run by the health department in coordination with AACI Essential Health Services, Project More, the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center, Silicon Valley Pride, The Gender Health Center, the Valley Homeless Health Care Program, and Q Corner.
People are also encouraged to talk with their own doctors, as “[Santa Clara] County has partnered with large healthcare systems to support them in delivering vaccines to their highest risk members. Many of the vaccine doses received by the County are being allocated to large healthcare systems for that purpose.”
Midday August 4 the health department announced it had received 2,154 more vaccine doses from the state.
A call to the health department August 15 asking about upcoming pop-up vaccination sites or clinics was not returned as of press time.
People are eligible to receive the vaccine in Alameda County if they:
- Are a close contact to someone with confirmed monkeypox,
- A close contact to someone with high clinical suspicion (i.e., characteristic rash and risk factors) for monkeypox,
- A close contact with others at a venue or event or within a social group where a suspected or confirmed monkeypox case was identified,
- Living with HIV infection,
- A healthcare professional who has been identified with a high or intermediate risk occupational exposure to someone who has confirmed monkeypox according to the CDC exposure risk assessment, or
- A laboratory worker who routinely handles monkeypox virus samples for diagnosis or testing purposes.
Alameda County is providing a weekly Wednesday vaccination clinic at Steamworks Baths in Berkeley. Only 300 doses are given per week, on a first-come-first-serve basis, at noon. The next clinic is August 17, which will be followed with clinics August 24, August 31 and September 7.
The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center announced August 4 that it would be partnering with the Alameda County Department of Public Health on providing doses at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, when further vaccine doses are available.
“We are planning an even larger vaccination pod in the coming weeks and hope to announce more vax sites soon,” a Facebook post read.
People are asked to contact their healthcare providers or email email@example.com.
Contra Costa County
Contra Costa County residents can schedule an appointment for a shot here, as of Aug. 17. Beforehand, they only had a link to request an appointment at a yet-to-be scheduled monkeypox vaccination clinic on the Contra Costa Health Services website.
Vaccinations “will be offered at our COVID vaccine sites in Richmond and Concord,” according to an Aug. 17 press release.
“We hope at add walk-in service soon as vaccine supply increases,” the press release continues. “Contra Costa Health is also planning pop-up vaccination clinics with community partners serving the LGBTQ community in the near future. Private and community healthcare systems are starting to carry the vaccine, so people should check with their regular healthcare providers about getting vaccinated.”
More information can be found on a monkeypox web page run by Contra Costa Health Services.
Marin County is using its 150 doses to provide post-exposure prophylaxis for close contacts, its department of health and human services states.
The Napa County monkeypox page states people should speak to their health providers. If they have trouble scheduling an appointment, they are advised to call 707-253-4270. Vaccine doses are prioritized for people who:
- have had “direct physical contact” with a person infected with the monkeypox virus,
- attended an event or venue where a person infected with the monkeypox virus was and had direct physical contact with people there, or
- are at occupational risk because they are laboratory workers, response team members or certain clinicians.
San Mateo County
San Mateo County revamped its monkeypox page after KRON4’s Dan Kerman reported on the lack of resources available to residents. It now includes a vaccination request form where San Mateo County residents who meet eligibility guidelines for highest risk for monkeypox can sign up to be notified about vaccination opportunities.
The Tier I priority group for vaccination in the county is those who’ve had close contact with someone who has the monkeypox virus; the Tier II priority group are gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men who meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Have been diagnosed with a recent sexually transmitted infection (such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis),
- Have recently engaged in group sex with other men,
- Have recently had sex with anonymous male partners,
- Have recently attended sex-on-premises venues (e.g., saunas, bathhouses, sex clubs),
- Have recently engaged in survival and/or transactional sex, or
- Persons who have conditions that cause immunocompromise.
Hospitals and clinics can request vaccine doses from the health department, and the website also contains information on two upcoming vaccine clinics: Thursday, August 18 from 3-6 p.m. at the Solano Pride Center (1234 Empire Street in Fairfield) and Friday, August 19 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Solano Community Health Club (1451 Gateway Boulevard in Fairfield).
“Sonoma County Department of Health Services has received the Jynneos vaccine from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to distribute to counties for preventative use in people who are at high risk because they were notified of an exposure within the past 14 days,” the department states on its website.
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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. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show the most commonly-reported symptoms are rash (99%), malaise (70%) and fever (64%).
The CDC stated August 6 that the most common places where rashes have been reported in this outbreak are genitals (46% of cases), arms (40%), face (38%) and legs (37%).
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.
Who can get a monkeypox infection?
According to CDC statistics released August 6, 99% of cases were in men, and 94% of cases were in men who reported having sex with men. Among those cases, the majority had reported multiple sexual partners in the prior three weeks. A total of ten U.S. cases have been reported in women, according to the CDC, and as of August 3 two pediatric cases have been confirmed. 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, Noel Sanchez of the San Francisco Department of Public Health cautioned that anyone could become infected with the monkeypox virus, and that it doesn’t necessarily require sexual contact to contract it.
“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, and be aware of symptoms.