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Dallas County Expands Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility

Health

A medical professional prepares a dose of a vaccine on July 23, 2022 in London, England. | Image by Hollie Adams/Getty Images

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As the monkeypox outbreak spreads, Dallas County declared the eligibility for the vaccine would be expanded.

Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas Health and Human Services, announced last week during a virtual town hall meeting that the county would provide more people with monkeypox vaccinations.

Initially, the county only allowed individuals to be immunized after exposure to the illness.

Now, the requirements to be eligible for the vaccine are:

  • Individuals who have had close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox.
  • Men (cisgender and transgender) 18 and older who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners within the past 14 days.

“We’re hoping that with some of the additional federal doses that will be available, we will be able to even expand it further,” said Dr. Huang.

The week before, the Texas Health and Human Services disclosed that Dallas County had received over 5,000 doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine.

Dallas County has clocked more confirmed cases than any other county in the state. As of the most recent numbers, released August 5, there were 224 cases and 36 suspected cases.

Huang stated the local Daddyland Festival last month could have potentially contributed to the community spread.

“There was a local event that occurred over the July 4 weekend in Dallas, I think the Daddyland Festival, where there were reportedly thousands of men who have sex with men from across the state and across the country that participated in that event,” Dr. Huang said. “So there was a lot of skin-to-skin contact and intimate contact.”

The virus can transmit in other ways, but sex between men is currently the primary means of its transmission. There are only three female cases in Dallas County.

Health professionals have said the monkeypox virus primarily spreads through direct contact with infected wounds, scabs, or bodily fluids of an infected individual. Still, it can spread during prolonged face-to-face contact, such as sexual activity, kissing, or hugging. It can also pass to a fetus during pregnancy or through respiratory secretions and droplets.

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