County Public Health urges at-risk populations to get mpox vaccinations
Although San Diego County has not seen a case of mpox — formerly known as monkeypox — since February, public health officials Tuesday urged at-risk people to get a vaccination against the virus, following a cluster of cases in the Chicago area.
The majority of the San Diego region's 473 cases occurred between June 15 and Aug. 31, 2022. The county recorded 18 hospitalizations and no deaths from the virus.
- Vaccines: The JYNNEOS two-shot vaccination series is widely available. People can schedule vaccination appointments through California's MyTurn website, their healthcare providers or a county STD clinic.
- County alerts: A local mpox text message alert system established last year has 4,485 subscribers. To sign up to receive the messages, in both English and Spanish, text "COSD MONKEYPOX" to 468-311.
- For information on symptoms, transmission and more, visit KPBS' mpox information page.
"Although anyone can get mpox infection, sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, as well as transgender individuals, have been most affected by mpox in the United States and in San Diego," according to a statement from the county Health and Human Services Agency.
People who have received the two-dose vaccination do not have to be re- vaccinated. While cases have been reported in fully vaccinated people, the vaccine is still highly effective and the best tool for mpox prevention, according to the HHSA. People who received only one dose of vaccine should receive their second as soon as possible to complete their series.
"We are asking for people who are at risk of mpox to get vaccinated or get up to date on their vaccinations and consider taking steps to prevent mpox exposure," said Dr. Ankita Kadakia, county deputy public health officer. "I am confident we can build off the collaboration and partnerships developed last year with the LGBTQ+ community to protect those at risk."
The cluster of cases in Chicago caused the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a warning about the potential for a resurgence in cases.
"County public health officials are continuing to work with the LGBTQ+ community on education and prevention messaging," the HHSA statement reads.