Jul 21, 2022 - News

The monkeypox vaccine arrives in Richmond

Illustration of a hand in a glove holding a glowing syringe
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts got their first shipment of the monkeypox vaccine this week and said they started vaccinating higher risk people Wednesday.

Driving the news: Monkeypox cases are rising quickly since the first case was reported in Virginia in May, but the state's response has been limited by lack of testing and vaccine availability, reports the Virginia Mercury.

What's happening: The local health districts received 160 Jynneos monkeypox vaccines Tuesday and are asking people to fill out an interest form if they want one.

  • They expect another shipment in August, RHHD tells Axios.

Details: Because most monkeypox cases have been found in men who identify as gay or bisexual or men who have sex with men — and since transmission is spread through close contact — VDH is trying to limit the vaccine to higher-risk people by asking detailed questions in the interest form. That includes:

  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners.
  • Transgender women and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners.
  • Sex workers.
  • Staff at establishments where sexual activity occurs.
  • People who attend sex-on-premises venues.

Of note: Because the disease has so far primarily hit the LGBTQ+ community, some have expressed frustration about the lack of better communication about the health risks, Virginia Mercury reports.

  • "We need to be in front of this, not behind this," James Millner, director of the nonprofit organization Virginia Pride, told the Mercury. "What's the threshold for when we start to worry about this?"
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