SAN ANTONIO — Metro Health has secured enough Monkeypox vaccine to inoculate 500 Bexar county residents, San Antonio officials announced Tuesday.
The public health authority will reserve doses for 140 people who've been exposed to the virus and identified by contact tracers.
Local clinics specializing in HIV care will allocate the remaining doses to 60 patients, each. Doctors at those facilities will select high-risk people from their current patient rosters and contact them to schedule vaccination.
The clinics include:
- Alamo Area Resource Center (AARC)
- BEAT AIDS
- CentroMed Santa Rosa Pavilion Clinic
- Kind Clinic San Antonio
- San Antonio AIDS Foundation
- University Health’s Family-Focused AIDS Clinical Treatment Services (FFACTS)
"People with HIV/AIDS and other immuno-compromising conditions are at highest risk for developing severe disease," said Dr. Anita Kurian, Metro Health's assistant director.
The population most at-risk for HIV exposure is also at risk for Monkeypox exposure, Kurian explained, though anyone can catch Monkeypox through intimate contact or shared linens.
"We have these vaccines, I think, at the right place at the right time," she said.
The state has not yet determined when it will send more doses to municipalities and public health authorities, though Kurian hopes more vaccine will arrive in late August.
“We are working to acquire additional doses to expand the availability of monkeypox vaccine,” she said.
As of August 1, 2022, 13 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Bexar County. As of this week, Texas has 338 cases of monkeypox reported. The current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public appears to be low in the broader community.
Those who believe they've been exposed to the virus should call 210-207-8876.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body, like the hands/palms, feet, chest or genitals. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely.
To prevent the spread of monkeypox, individuals can:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact in large crowds where people are wearing minimal clothing (such as nightclubs, festivals, raves, saunas, and bathhouses).
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone with a new, unexplained rash.
- If you were exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Healthcare providers can provide testing and care for people with monkeypox.
- If sick with monkeypox, isolate at home until the rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed. Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting infection that does not require hospitalization.
More information about how to prevent infection can be found on the CDC Monkeypox website.