The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced on Friday that it plans to administer 300 doses of monkeypox vaccine throughout the Denver metropolitan area this week.
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Those eligible for the vaccines are men aged 18 years and older who are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days.
Colorado officials administered more than 250 doses last week for free at several drive-thru vaccination clinic sites. The federal government has based vaccine allocation based on state population and prevalence of monkeypox.
The state has shifted its strategic response to focus more on prevention as concerns about the spread of the small but ongoing outbreak grow. At least 6 confirmed or presumed positive cases have been reported as of last week with every case related either to travel or to another confirmed case.
“We continue to work closely with our partners in the federal government to obtain more vaccines in the coming weeks,” said Scott Bookman, Director of the CDPHE Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response. “We will continue to use the supply we have on hand as we get it from the federal government. We aren’t delaying as now is the time to prevent the spread of monkeypox.”
Some 300 doses are scheduled to be administered on July 5th, 8th, and 9th this week at designated sites. Appointments are available for Friday and Saturday on a first-come, first-serve basis to Coloradans who meet the specific screening criteria.
The FDA approved JYNNEOS vaccine is administered in 2 doses given 4 weeks apart and can help keep people from getting sick at all if administered between 4 and 14 days after exposure.
CDPHE is advising Coloradans who think they might have been exposed to monkeypox or are experiencing symptoms to contact a health care provider and avoid physical contact with others. Such individuals are also eligible for the vaccine doses.
CDPHE said monkeypox may begin with flu-like symptoms that can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. Typically, a rash or skin bumps develop within one to three days after the onset of fever, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body.
Officials said skin lesions can look like syphilis, herpes, blisters, or even acne. In recent cases, additional symptoms have not always occurred before the rash or bumps if they have occurred at all.