Monkeypox cases in Utah rise to 48, with walk-in clinic Saturday offering 500 doses of vaccine

Over the past week, 10 more cases of the virus have been reported in Salt Lake County.

(Rick Bowmer | AP) A graduate nurse prepares a dose of monkeypox vaccine at the Salt Lake County Health Department Thursday, July 28, 2022 in Salt Lake City. The Health Department is hosting a walk-in Monkeypox Vaccination Clinic on Saturday, August 6, 2022.

The number of monkeypox cases identified in the state since May rose to 48 on Friday, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services reported. People currently most at risk of the virus are eligible to receive free monkeypox vaccines at a walk-in vaccination clinic on Saturdays – without an appointment.

The Salt Lake County Health Department will provide approximately 500 doses of monkeypox vaccine to the walk-in vaccination clinic Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Salt Lake Public Health Center, located at 610 S. 200 East.

Only those who meet the following criteria are eligible for the vaccine, according to the county health department:

  • Men (cisgender or transgender) who have sex with men.

  • Men who are not in a monogamous and exclusive relationship with another person.

  • Men who have no symptoms of monkeypox.

Anyone who does not meet the above eligibility criteria will be turned away, so the county can focus vaccinations on those currently most at risk.

As of Friday, 1,290 people in Utah had received their first dose of the monkeypox vaccine, according to state health officials. The Salt Lake County Health Department made about 200 doses available to people by appointment on Tuesday, which were administered this week. It’s unclear when Utah will be able to receive more vaccine doses than will be available at the clinic this weekend.

Monkeypox is currently circulating within the men who have sex with men (MSM) community, a group that includes people who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender and non-binary, although anyone can be infected. by the virus.

It is not a sexually transmitted disease, although it can be transmitted through sexual contact, and condoms do not protect people against the virus, health officials advise. It can also be spread on linens, clothing, and other surfaces, as well as through direct skin-to-skin contact with a monkeypox rash.

People with symptoms should immediately self-isolate and tell close contacts and partners to watch for symptoms, officials advise. Contact your local health department, health care provider, or visit a clinic near you. Then, get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.

Over the past week, 16 more confirmed or probable cases of monkeypox have been reported in Utah. Ten more cases have been reported in Salt Lake County, for a total of 35 since the virus first emerged in the state.

Since May, a total of six cases have been reported in Utah County, two cases in Davis County, and three cases in Weber and Morgan counties.

On Thursday, the US Department of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox a public health emergency. On Friday, 7,102 cases of monkeypox were reported nationwide.

The move empowers the Biden-Harris administration to take greater action to prevent the spread of the disease nationwide. A public health emergency may allow the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to access medical supplies and equipment through contracts and strengthen emergency medical response at hospitals nationwide .

The most obvious symptom of monkeypox is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters on the skin, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms of monkeypox may include headache, fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, chills, and respiratory symptoms.

The virus is rarely fatal, with 99% of those infected recovering in two to four weeks, although some of those infected have described the pain resulting from monkeypox as “excruciating”, according to a New York Times report.

Second doses of the vaccine, which cannot be given until at least 28 days after receiving a first dose, will not be available until mid-August, Utah officials said.

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