Jun 28, 2022 - News

D.C. begins offering monkeypox vaccines

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP

A limited number of monkeypox vaccine appointments in D.C. were snapped up within minutes on Monday.

Why it matters: D.C. has now seen 16 cases of the viral infection that has broken out across the country.

What’s happening: DC Health yesterday announced that it would open 300 free, confidential appointments for the vaccine JYNNEOS which is given in two doses, 28 days apart. Eligibility applies to:

  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple partners within the last two weeks;
  • Transgender women and nonbinary people assigned male at birth who have sex with men;
  • Sex workers;
  • And staff at places such as bathhouses and saunas where sex occurs.

Context: Monkeypox, a rare but potentially serious disease, spreads via direct contact with bodily fluids or the sores of an infected person, as well as with materials, like clothing, that have touched fluids or sores.

  • This can be during prolonged face-to-face contact or through kissing and sex, DC Health says.
  • Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and body sores.

Zoom in: Doses are limited nationwide, and the District will provide more information today on whether it can schedule more appointments, DC Health says.

  • The CDC says it currently has 36,000 doses with 150,000 more expected to be delivered in the coming weeks and 500,000 to be delivered this year.

Worth noting: Officials have wrestled with how to frame public messaging amid concern that it could contribute to further stigma and falsely imply that monkeypox is limited to being spread among gay men, the Washington Post reports.

  • "While monkeypox can spread to anyone, the majority of current cases in the District are in men who have sex with men,” DC Health wrote in a press release.

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