Forsyth Public Health giving monkeypox vaccine to exposed and high-risk individuals
Published 6:56 pm Monday, July 18, 2022
The Forsyth County Department of Public Health has a limited supply of monkeypox vaccine, available by appointment only, for those who may have been exposed to or at high risk of exposure to the disease.
There are currently 1,470 cases in the United States and 11 cases in North Carolina. There is no identified case in Forsyth County.
The Jynneos vaccine can prevent illness and more severe symptoms if given within two weeks after exposure to monkeypox. Due to limited supply, the vaccine will currently be given to:
• People who have had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox
• Men who have sex with men or transgender individuals who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days
Appointments can be made by calling 336-703-3100. Supply is limited, but Forsyth Public Health is anticipating additional vaccines in the coming weeks and for the eligibility criteria to expand as the vaccine supply increases.
A monkeypox rash may initially appear similar to pimples, blisters or raised bumps that appear on the face, hands or other parts of the body, and may be accompanied by fever and chills. People with a rash that looks like monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider. Close contacts to a known monkeypox case with no symptoms should contact their local health department.
Monkeypox is spread through:
• Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids
• Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex
• Touching items (such as clothing or linens) previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks and is rarely fatal.
“Anyone can get monkeypox, although many of the individuals recently diagnosed with monkeypox self-identify as being men who have sex with other men,” said Public Health Director Joshua Swift. “The virus does not spread exclusively through any one gender, sexual or social network.”
Forsyth Public Health is one of seven health departments in the state that has received a limited supply of monkeypox vaccine. It received an initial 80 doses from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, with 380 additional doses expected to arrive soon.
Forsyth Public Health was chosen to receive the vaccine because of its capacity and location, which lets it act as a hub for health departments in surrounding counties that might need the vaccine. The 460 doses are enough to administer the two-dose vaccine to 230 individuals. So far, a small number of vaccinations have been administered to individuals identified as close contacts to known cases.