Lexington, KY offering monkeypox vaccines for select groups

There are now at least 11 reported cases of monkeypox in Kentucky, and while that official tally remains low, it represents a statewide total that has nearly doubled in less than two weeks.

The number of monkeypox cases in the state was July 6 through July 28, but now stands at 11 cases, according to the latest figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationwide, cases of monkeypox are growing even faster and now stand at more than 8,900 cases nationwide according to Monday’s CDC update. The United States as a whole now has more active cases than any other country in the world.

Note: This chart will automatically update as new data becomes available.

The Ministry of Health is working to vaccinate high-risk groups

Kevin Hall, spokesman for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, said in a statement Tuesday that the local agency is now targeting at-risk populations in its monkeypox vaccine outreach efforts.

“We continue to work with community partners to reach the target population for the vaccine at this time: men who have sex with men with certain risk factors,” Hall told the Herald-Leader.

He described several criteria for which the local health department reviews:

  1. Men who have sex with men, including those who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, or gender non-binary, age 18 or older, and have had multiple or gender-anonymous sex partners male, transgender, or gender nonconforming in the past 14 days.
  2. People diagnosed with gonorrhea and/or early syphilis in the past 12 months
  3. People on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  4. People who attended an event/place where there was a high risk of exposure to one or more people with confirmed monkeypox through skin-to-skin or sexual contact in the past 14 days.
  5. Individuals who, on a case-by-case basis, are considered to have reasonable suspicion of recent direct skin-to-skin contact with a known or suspected case of monkeypox.

Is it easy to get a monkeypox vaccine in KY right now?

The vaccine is generally in short supply right now, and according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the state has a very limited supply to administer.

For this reason, it targets people at known high risk of monkeypox.

“This use of the vaccine helps protect people who have been around the individual with monkeypox. Plans are underway to offer a vaccine to people at high risk of contracting monkeypox virus as the vaccine becomes available. vaccine will increase over the next few weeks and months,” the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said.

The state cabinet is working with local health departments and community clinics to help distribute and administer the vaccine, the agency said.

Is the smallpox vaccine effective against monkeypox?

Although its symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, monkeypox is milder and rarely fatal. Both are part of the same smallpox virus family, according to the CDC.

Because monkeypox vaccines are rare, some people have wondered if the smallpox vaccine they received as children offered any protection.

According to a World Health Organization fact sheet, previous smallpox vaccination appears to offer at least some protection against monkeypox.

According to the WHO, “Vaccination against smallpox has been shown by several observational studies to be approximately 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. Thus, prior vaccination against smallpox may result in milder disease.

The CDC echoed these dishes in its own guidelines. Because the monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people against monkeypox.

“Past data from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox,” the CDC said, citing efficacy data from animal studies.

“The smallpox and monkeypox vaccines are effective in protecting people against monkeypox when given before exposure to monkeypox. Experts also believe that vaccination after exposure to monkeypox may help prevent disease or make it less severe,” according to the CDC.

What are Kentucky public health officials saying?

Sunsan Dunlap, spokesperson for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said a more modern version of the smallpox vaccine may be suitable for some people at risk.

“Anyone who has been exposed to monkeypox virus and has not received the smallpox vaccine in the past 3 years should consider getting vaccinated,” Dunlap wrote to the Herald-Leader in an email. .

Do you have a question about monkeypox in Kentucky for our duty journalism team? We would love to hear from you. Complete our Know Your Kentucky form or email [email protected]

Aaron Mudd is a duty reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader based in Lexington, Kentucky. He previously worked for the Bowling Green Daily News covering K-12 and higher education. Aaron has roots in Fayette, Marion, and Warren counties in Kentucky.
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