With expanded criteria and new authorizations for monkeypox vaccine administration, more people are eligible to be vaccinated.
AUSTIN, Texas – With expanded criteria and new authorizations for monkeypox vaccine administration, more people are eligible to be vaccinated. In the last week, the City of Austin, Travis County, and community partners joined efforts and coordinated a large response to get vaccines to those who need them the most.
“At least 27 women are positive in the state, and we are seeing the spread within more people who weren’t sexually involved with another positive case and was spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or face-to-face spread through infected respiratory secretions,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “The virus is finding a way, but the vaccine is the way out.”
APH has received a little over 5,000 vials of the Jynneos vaccines to date. 2,544 vials have been allocated to community partners such as CommUnityCare, which held a walk-up vaccine clinic with Ascension Seton near Austin PRIDE events, administering 1,910 vaccine doses in one weekend.
“By partnering together, we were once again able to target at-risk populations and get the much-needed monkeypox vaccine into arms,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. “I want to thank CommUnityCare for their efforts to get a vaccine clinic up and running in less than 48 hours. Their efforts will help prevent the spread of monkeypox by protecting our those in our community at highest risk.”
"Yet again, our community pulled together to help make sure those most at risk from monkeypox are protected. Thanks to our healthcare partners for mobilizing clinics and to the state and federal government for hearing our calls for more vaccines,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “We will continue to fight for the resources we need to keep this community safe.”
APH is continuing to enhance its monkeypox vaccine response efforts through a partnership with Wellness Equity Alliance. APH and Wellness Equity Alliance will work together to administer Jynneos monkeypox vaccines to high-risk groups in both Austin and Travis County.
To determine eligibility for receiving the vaccine, the public can visit Wellness Equity Alliance’s website. Those who qualify for the vaccine will be given an option to schedule an appointment.
Those who need assistance can call the APH Equity Line at 512-972-5560.
In coordination with the APH Epidemiology and Public Health Preparedness Division, all those who were confirmed contacts of a positive case were contacted to schedule a vaccine. Additionally, more than 1,600 people who were on a waitlist have been contacted this week to schedule their appointment.
“We will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas Department of State Health Services to demonstrate that obtaining more vaccines and using a community approach in its distribution is necessary to continue to fight this virus,” said APH Chief Administrative Officer Cassandra DeLeon.
This expanded eligibility criteria comes just after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced an emergency use authorization for the Jynneos vaccine to allow health care providers to administer the vaccine by intradermal injection (shallow injection under the skin) instead of subcutaneous injection (injection into the muscle tissue). Each vial may now provide 3-5 doses.
The public is urged to follow precautions as monkeypox cases rise in the community. Protective measures include:
Being fully clothed and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with strangers.
Limiting close and or/intimate contact to people you know.
Close contact includes sharing items like drinks and blankets.
Wearing well-fitting masks in close quarters when social distancing isn’t possible to reduce direct exchange of mouth/nasal fluids.
Washing/sanitizing your hands as well as cleaning surfaces.
Staying home if you feel sick or experience any symptoms.
Learning monkeypox symptoms. Along with rash, symptoms include fever, headache and muscle aches, chills, and swollen lymph nodes.
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Anyone who believes they are a close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox or experiencing symptoms should reach out to their health care provider. Those without access to healthcare may call APH's Equity Line at 512-972-5560 for information.