SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Eligibility to get the monkeypox vaccine is expanding Tuesday at the same time that the San Francisco Department of Public Health is allowing people who’ve received the first dose to schedule an appointment for their second.
As of Tuesday, any gay or bisexual man, or any man or trans person who has sex with men or trans people, can receive a first dose.
Sex workers, certain clinicians or lab workers, and people with a close contact in the past two weeks or who’d been at a venue where monkeypox was identified in that timespan had already been able to get the jab regardless. But outside of those categories, gay and bisexual men and trans people had only been able to be vaccinated if they reported multiple sexual partners in the previous two weeks.
The department stated that “the majority of second doses will be available by appointment only” and that “people should seek the second dose from their health care provider, regardless of where their first dose was obtained.” Nonetheless, the walk-in vaccination clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital will give first and second doses. Hours this week are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until vaccine supply is exhausted.
That clinic is located at 1001 Potrero Avenue, Building 30.
San Francisco City Clinic and Magnet at Strut will take appointments for a second dose.
For the most part, second doses will be given in the skin tissue instead of under the skin. In order to stretch supply of the Jynneos vaccine by as much as five times, the Biden administration approved the new method last month.
No new cases were reported Aug. 26-29 of last week. There have been 723 confirmed cases in San Francisco since this outbreak began.
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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. 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 SFDPH 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.