Monkeypox vaccine clinic opens in Monroe County

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monday, the Monroe County Health Department hosted its first Monkeypox vaccine clinic, only open to those who currently qualify for the vaccine.

Right now we have four confirmed positive cases of the rare viral infection in our area. News10NBC talked to the Health Commissioner about the availability of the vaccine.

Recently the county received its first shipment of 600 doses of the vaccine to help keep people protected against Monkeypox.

Our cameras were not allowed in the room where the monkeypox vaccine was given to people who signed up for it. County Public Health Director Dr. Michael Mendoza says the health department did get a good response from the public, and most slots are already filled.

"We’ve only had a handful come in, but we’ll have approximately 250 come in before the end of the week," said Mendoza.

As of late last week, the CDC says there are almost 2,900 confirmed cases of monkeypox across the nation. Around 900 cases alone in New York State. Monroe County has 4 positive cases but that may change.

"One more that we’re investigating today. So possibly 5, but for now we’ve confirmed 4 cases," said Mendoza.

Although it’s a rare viral infection that doesn’t usually cause serious illness, Monkeypox can result in hospitalization or death.
Physical symptoms of the virus include rashes, bumps, and blisters. The infected may have flu-like symptoms as well. Mendoza says qualifications for the vaccine include if you are a gay or bisexual man who has sex with other men, is at least 18 years old, and has had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days.

We asked Mendoza if demand for the vaccine will deplete the first 600 available doses.

"There is more demand than there are does for now. Certainly within the population that is being named as eligible there is more demand even from this population, but I think there are health care providers, and other people that want to get the vaccine because you know we in health care want to protect ourselves on the front lines," said Mendoza.

As for a required shot for the rest of the population.

"This isn’t the kind of infection that the general public is at risk for right now, but time will tell. You know if we could do a good job in public health, and if the public responds by keeping this contained I hope we don’t need to get to that point," said Mendoza.

Although mostly found in men, Mendoza says the females that have contracted the virus is through an infected male partner. Click here to schedule an appointment for the Monkeypox vaccine.