Maricopa County to administer limited monkeypox vaccine supply
PHOENIX — Maricopa County Department of Public Health announced it will prioritize the limited amount of monkeypox vaccines to those known to have or been exposed to monkeypox with four new cases identified this week, according to a press release.
With a limited vaccine supply, the department will administer the vaccine to only those identified as contacts of monkeypox cases.
The existing supply of the vaccine can be used for post-and-pre-exposure protection for a limited number of public health workers who are working in the outbreak, the release said.
“At this time, we have limited quantities of vaccine, which we are prioritizing for people who we know or suspect have been exposed and are within the post-exposure timeframe where that protection can still be effective,” executive director of MCDPH Marcy Flanagan said in the release.
“We are also working with our state and federal partners to secure additional doses so that we are prepared to move into a phase of providing pre-exposure protection to those who are at higher risk,” Flanagan said. “As soon as we have enough vaccine, we will be holding clinics for those at highest risk of being exposed.”
The department will have a total of 440 doses of vaccine by this weekend, after adding 340 additional doses after more outbreak, medical epidemiologist for MCDPH Dr. Nick Staab told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Saturday.
Staab said the vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, where those receive their second dose four weeks after the first, similar to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Two weeks after the second dose, you are completely immunized, Staab said.
With the four new cases in Maricopa County, Staab said the total of monkeypox cases is at five after the initial case identified on June 7.
“This is a fluid situation, we have a number of individuals who are currently in the process of being tested so we expect that number to increase,” Staab said.
Despite these plans, the department made it clear that this should not cause concern for the public.
“Monkeypox is still not common, and it spreads primarily through significant skin-to-skin or intimate contact,” MCDPH’s medical director for disease control Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine said in the release.
Staab echoed that statement and said monkeypox is still a very rare disease.
He recommended that if you have or rash or see someone with one, don’t touch it just to be safe.