Contra Costa County residents who are at high risk for monkeypox can now schedule a vaccination appointment online through the county’s public health department.
Eligible county residents previously had to submit a request form for a vaccination appointment, which then placed them on a waiting list.
Contra Costa Health Services said Wednesday that an increase in monkeypox vaccine supply enabled the county to open online appointment booking without a waiting list.
“We know people are eager to get immunized against (monkeypox) and adding online scheduling will make access to the vaccine in Contra Costa a lot easier and more convenient,” county Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli said.
Even with the increase in vaccine supply, doses remain limited and the county is prioritizing those who are at highest risk to contract the virus, including close contacts of known cases, sex workers and men who have sex with men who have had more than one sexual partner in the previous two weeks.
As of Aug. 16, 40 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in Contra Costa County.
The majority of cases statewide have, to date, been reported overwhelmingly among gay and bisexual men, but is not unique to any gender or sexual orientation.
Monkeypox is largely being spread via prolonged skin-to-skin contact rather than more intimate activities like kissing or sexual activity.
The Jynneos vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox can be given preventatively or within four days of exposure to the virus.
While the vaccine is normally administered in two doses, four weeks apart, the state has focused on administering an initial vaccine dose to as many high-risk people as possible to ensure they have some level of protection against the virus. Second doses are expected to become available once more vaccine is available in general.
Monkeypox can initially develop like the flu, with symptoms including a fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and enlarged lymph nodes. Painful lesions or a rash can also appear.
Monkeypox generally lasts up to two to four weeks, can resolve on its own without treatment and is rarely fatal. As of Tuesday, just 57 of the state’s 2,356 reported monkeypox patients have been hospitalized, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Monkeypox vaccinations in Contra Costa County are currently available at county-run sites in Richmond and Concord. The county also plans to open pop-up clinics in the coming weeks. Some non-governmental health care systems have also begun to carry the vaccine.
Eligible county residents seeking to get vaccinated against monkeypox can do so on the Contra Costa Health Services website.
Source: NBC Bay Area