Limited supply of monkeypox vaccine offered to San Diego’s gay and bisexual communities

About 600 doses of monkeypox vaccine will be made available to those at increased risk of infection Wednesday and Thursday in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading during this weekend’s San Diego Pride Festival.

conditionnational and International Public agencies recently reported that members of the gay, bisexual and transgender communities make up a significant proportion of those affected by monkeypox infections, with some linked to raves and other large parties abroad in the spring.

Dr. Seema Shah, medical director of San Diego County’s epidemiology and immunization services branch, said Tuesday that additional doses were provided to the county health department ahead of the festival, as has been the case at similar events held recently in other communities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“We looked at what other jurisdictions have done, to figure out what’s the best way to do this,” Shah said. “This is not just a decision made by the county. it’s a decision made by the community.”

Shah said the county is working with organizations like The San Diego LGBT Community Center and San Diego Pride to raise awareness that this particular population is at greater risk of being infected.

“We’re targeting groups of people that need to be vaccinated as directly as we can,” Shah said. “We made this decision in collaboration with community leaders, asking what is the best message, what are the right groups, how should we do this?”

Fernando López Jr., director of San Diego Pride, said the messages have been circulating in newsletters, on social media and through other channels for about three weeks.

Monkey pox is transmitted through direct physical contact, especially with the characteristic rash that appears after humans are infected, and López Jr. said party planners and small businesses planning events for the coming weekend are generally open to encouraging physical contact this year.

The county health department made the point in its message Tuesday, “encouraging gay, bisexual, transgender and other men who have sex with men to abstain or practice safer sex to avoid spreading the monkeypox virus.” .

So far, San Diego County has reported only six cases of monkeypox, and Shah said there is no evidence they are connected. Nor is there evidence of the virus causing the condition to spread from person to person in the community.

Wednesday and Thursday’s events, he said, signal a shift from vaccinating those known to have direct contact with a confirmed case to vaccinating those known to have a higher-than-average risk of infection.

Preventing transmission, Lopez Jr. said, is a community-supported effort.

“We take public health very seriously as a community,” Lopez Jr. said. “What we’re seeing is a really intentional effort on the part of LGBT organizations, small businesses and public health to really do our best to mitigate the spread before it happens.”

Because JYNNEOS, the monkeypox vaccine to be used on Wednesday and Thursday, requires two doses to be effective, vaccination does not immediately eliminate the risk of infection. Shah said full protection takes more than a month to develop.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 926 monkeypox cases nationwide with 186 in California; according in the most recent update from the California Department of Public Health. A total of 66 possible and confirmed cases have been recorded has been recorded in Los Angeles County with 60 in San Francisco.

Vaccination will be prioritized for those at greatest epidemiological risk, including “gay, bisexual and transgender people and other men who have sex with men,” as well as those who participate in the party circuit or raves.

Doses will be delivered by appointment only and those interested can call 211 for more information.

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Limited supply of monkeypox vaccine offered to San Diego’s gay and bisexual communities Source link Limited supply of monkeypox vaccine offered to San Diego’s gay and bisexual communities

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