WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The Waco-Mclennan County Public Health District reported two new cases of monkeypox Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to four. Cases are on the rise, but now only a select few can get the monkeypox vaccine in Central Texas.
“The priorities now are for close contacts who are still asymptomatic for a current case and people who are at high risk of contracting monkeypox the way it’s currently spreading,” said Amy Yeager, director of the U.S. Public Health District. Bell County.
According to the CDC, the monkeypox vaccine called JYNNEOS is prioritized for people who have been exposed and do not show symptoms or people who are immunocompromised. Qualifying conditions include HIV, pregnancy, or “other immunocompromised conditions.”
“If you think about COVID, when we first got the vaccine, there was only a limited amount of vaccine and public health was hoping to get to the people who are at the highest risk of the disease,” Yeager said.
As of Wednesday morning, the Bell County Public Health District has yet to receive any vaccine from the state. Meanwhile, the Waco-Mclennan County Health District has given six vaccinations to people who have been identified as close contacts of a case of monkeypox.
“Whenever we’ve identified people who are at high risk, we’ve looked for the vaccine,” said Vaidehi Shah, senior epidemiologist at the Waco-Mclennan County Health District.
Both health districts are giving close contacts of monkeypox the opportunity to receive the post-exposure vaccine as long as they are asymptomatic.
“We ask them if they would like to get the vaccine and we offer them the benefits of getting the vaccine,” Shah said. “Then if they agree to receive the vaccine, we will place an order for the vaccines.”
Immunocompromised persons may contact the Bell County Public Health District by phone at 254-939-2091 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the vaccine waiting list.
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