Santa Clara County, Calif. - Starting this week, the Public Health Department of Santa Clara County will offer the monkeypox vaccine to eligible people via appointment only. On Tuesday the health department received 900 additional doses of the vaccine bringing to about 1,600 the total number of vaccine doses received from the federal government.
The vaccine, due to its limited supply, had previously been offered only via invitation during contact tracing investigations. For this expanded rollout people will still need a referral from a physician or one of the community groups which is partnering with the county to reach high-risk groups. You cannot make a vaccine appointment without a referral.
"As our vaccine supply increases we are able to offer vaccine to other people who are at high risk of getting monkeypox," said Dr. George Han, the Deputy Health Officer of Santa Clara County. "They may not have been directly exposed to someone with monkeypox that they know of but they may come into contact in the future," Dr. Han said.
An employee prepares a syringe with Bavarian Nordic's vaccine (Imvanex / Jynneos) against monkeypox at Klinikum rechts der Isar.
- Had direct physical contact with someone confirmed to have monkeypox
- Attended an event or venue where a person contagious with monkeypox was at the event or venue and had direct physical contact with other people there
- Identify as a gay, bisexual, or other cisgender man who has sex with men (MSM), or as a transgender man or woman, who meets at least one of the following risk criteria: Have recent history of multiple or anonymous sex partners Participate in group sex Attend sex-on-premises venues (for example, bathhouse) or events Work or volunteer at a bathhouse or sex club Have had a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, in the prior 1 year Perform sex work
- Have recent history of multiple or anonymous sex partners
- Participate in group sex
- Attend sex-on-premises venues (for example, bathhouse) or events
- Work or volunteer at a bathhouse or sex club
- Have had a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, in the prior 1 year
- Perform sex work
There have been 23 cases of monkeypox in Santa Clara County as of Tuesday which is double the number of cases from the same time last week. Health officials are concerned about the increased rate of spread in the county.
"As has been the case across the country, more vaccine is needed from the federal government supply to meet local demand as more individuals test positive, and vaccine eligibility expands over time to everyone who needs it," said Dr. George Han, Deputy Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.
The county's health department is working with local LGBTQ+ organizations to get the word out about upcoming vaccine clinics that will take place this weekend.
Gabrielle Antolovich, the board president of the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center in San Jose, says the group has already pushed out information to its 6,000 participants about the upcoming vaccine clinics. "The first question people ask is – well where can i get the vaccine," Antolovich said.
Antolovich recalls the slow response from government authorities during the AIDS crisis and she is glad to see the public partnerships underway for the monkeypox vaccines. "I am really heartened that the county is making that effort because, you know, way back in the day when HIV was an issue the government was not really responsive until the community demanded it," Antolovich said.