Monkeypox vaccine supply is limited. Slots are still open for Lexington’s Thursday clinic

·3 min read

Qualifying individuals who want to receive the monkeypox vaccine in Lexington will have an opportunity Thursday.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is hosting a clinic at Central Baptist Church on Wilson Downing Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18. With limited vaccine availability nationwide, the department is only offering the shot to select individuals.

To receive a monkeypox vaccine, you must pre-register for the event online, and you must wear a mask when you attend the clinic.

As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, about 130 slots remain open.

“While monkeypox can pose a risk to everyone, the limited number vaccines at this time means prioritization must be made for those people at highest risk,” the health department said in a Facebook post.

The following individuals are eligible:

  1. Men who have sex with men, including those who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming or gender nonbinary and have had multiple or anonymous male, transgender or gender nonconforming sex partners in the past 14 days; or had a diagnosis of gonorrhea and/or early syphilis in the last year; or are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

  2. Those who have attended an event/venue with a high risk of exposure to a confirmed case via skin-to-skin or sexual contact in the last 14 days.

  3. Individuals who are determined to have reasonable suspicion of recent direct skin-to-skin contact to a known or suspected case. This determination is done on a case-by-case basis.

You must be at least 18 years old to qualify for the clinic and you do not need to live in Fayette County.

Monkeypox cases

There are no confirmed cases of the monkeypox — which is in the variola virus family and similar to smallpox — in Fayette County, the LFCHD said Tuesday.

Statewide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 15 cases in Kentucky, part of a larger outbreak in the U.S. that has grown to 11,890 cases as of Monday.

You can see U.S. cases connected to the 2022 outbreak using the interactive map below.

Note: This graphic will automatically update as new data become available.

The monkeypox vaccine

The health department is offering around 550 shots at Thursday’s clinic using the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine. The second dose is given four weeks after the initial jab.

“We will be contacting them directly to schedule their second dose,” a spokesperson for the LFCHD said of those who attend Thursday’s clinic.

The vaccine is being distributed by the federal government from the National Strategic Stockpile, though the rollout has proved troublesome for state and local providers, The New York Times reported Monday.

The single-dose ACAM2000 vaccine is not being offered at the Lexington clinic.

Lexington health dept. focuses monkeypox vaccine on ‘at-risk’ groups. This is who’s eligible

Symptoms of monkeypox

A common symptom of monkeypox is a rash, which can occur near the genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth, according to the CDC. It can initially look like pimples or blisters and could itch or prove painful.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, backaches, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion or cough.

Not all individuals experience all symptoms, and some only get the rash.

The CDC says symptoms typically begin within three weeks of exposure and can last two to four weeks.

“Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed,” the CDC states.

How to prevent monkeypox

The LFCHD offers the follow tips to reduce your risk:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with those that have a rash that looks like monkeypox.

  • Do not hug, kiss, cuddle or have sex with an individual with monkeypox.

  • Avoid contact with items that have been handled by someone with monkeypox, such as clothing, bedding, etc.

  • Don’t share utensils with someone who has monkeypox.

  • Get vaccinated.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Do you have a question about monkeypox in Kentucky for our service journalism team? We’d like to hear from you. Fill out our Know Your Kentucky form or email ask@herald-leader.com.