SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The monkeypox vaccine clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is reopening Wednesday, offering appointments to those at high risk of infection.
The news comes after San Francisco received around 4,100 doses of the Jynneos vaccine from the state, which received a shipment from the federal government of 14,774 last week. Before that shipment, San Francisco health officials were running out of vaccine and had to close the clinic, prompting a protest of the federal response to the outbreak, which has led to 1,814 cases in the United States as of Tuesday.
There are only a limited number of drop-in spots for the clinic, which reopens at 8 a.m. and closes at noon. However, by 8:14 a.m., officials told those who were not within the first 300 in line that they should leave because only 300 doses are being given per day.
Two thousand doses have been allotted to Zuckerberg General; 90 are available for appointment and 210 for drop-ins. Drop-ins can take no-show appointment doses.
San Francisco also changed its eligibility requirements for getting vaccinated, aligning more closely with Santa Clara County, which announced changes Tuesday coinciding with a new appointment-only policy.
San Franciscans are eligible for vaccination if they meet one of the following criteria:
- They are a gay, bisexual or other cisgender man or trans person who has sex with men who has had more than one sexual partner in the past 14 days,
- a sex worker of any sexual orientation or gender,
- a close contact of someone with suspected or confirmed monkeypox,
- received a notification from a venue or event of a potential exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed monkeypox, and/or
- a laboratory worker who handles monkeypox viral samples for diagnoses or testing, or any clinician with a high-risk occupational exposure.
The California Department of Public Health reports 56 monkeypox cases in the state, of which 176 are in the Bay Area, comprising 49% of the Golden State’s cases. San Francisco is home to the largest outbreak, with 141 cases — including 55 reported just Tuesday.
Solano County states it’s waiting on confirmation for two probable cases. San Mateo and Contra Costa County both report one confirmed case each. Marin County reports two cases; Sonoma County reports three; Alameda County reports five; and Santa Clara County reports 23.
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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.
While these red, flat spots which become bumps can be anywhere on the body, they are most likely in the genital or rectal areas, or at 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?
Getting a 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. The monkeypox virus is in the orthopoxvirus family alongside smallpox, for which routine vaccination in the United States ended in 1972 after the disease was declared eradicated here. The smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective against monkeypox, though its effectiveness reduces over time.
Side-effects of the Jynneos vaccine could include redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and nausea.
Who can get a monkeypox infection?
While “many of the cases are occurring within networks of gay, bisexual, trans people, and men who have sex with men,” San Francisco Department of Public Health spokesperson Noel Sanchez stated, anyone can 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