Leon County offers monkeypox vaccine to high-risk individuals

The Monkeypox vaccine is being distributed and administered to high-risk patients. Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

While the world is still in the age of the pandemic known as coronavirus, a dormant disease known as monkeypox has decided to re-emerge.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monkeypox is “a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.”

This disease can cause blisters on the face and is known to be not only sexually transmissible, but through face-to-face contact as well.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and backaches, headaches and respiratory symptoms such as coughing.

The first human monkeypox case appeared in 1970 and had been reported in several African countries prior to the 2022 outbreak in the U.S.

While the U.S. has been distributing the vaccine nationwide as early as the beginning of August, the Florida Department of Health began distributing the vaccine as early as Aug..23 in Leon County, with only those being at high risk of contracting the disease to receive it.

While there’s only been one confirmed case of monkeypox in Leon County thus far, there have been a total of almost 2,000 cases in Florida.

With just this one case confirmed, clinics and college campuses in Leon County are being cautious in order to prevent and even treat cases.

Tanya Tatum, the director of Student Health Services at Florida A&M University, outlined the procedures that FAMU will take in the case of students being at high risk of contracting the disease.

“We would start with if we have a suspected or known case,” Tatum said. “Then we would reach out to their close contacts.”

Tatum confirmed that the vaccine could also be received on FAMU’s campus for those who are at high risk of infection.

“We do have the vaccine available here at the clinic,” Tatum said. “We also have the TPOXX treatments for those who have been exposed and contracted it already.”

TPOXX is an antiviral drug approved by the FDA which reduces the symptoms of monkeypox. The treatment can be taken orally as a pill capsule or administered via IV.

Nationwide, there have been a total of 19,465 confirmed cases of monkeypox. With the distribution of the vaccine and TPOXX treatment, the number of cases should lessen in the months ahead.

For information regarding the monkeypox vaccine and if you are able to receive it, contact your healthcare provider and local clinic.