Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has received limited, additional doses of monkeypox vaccine from the federal government. MCDPH is prioritizing vaccinating those who are at highest risk of exposure to slow the spread of disease in accordance with federal requirements.
“In this outbreak we know that some people are at higher risk of getting monkeypox than others, just like some groups are hit harder by diseases like cardiovascular disease or asthma,” said Dr. Nick Staab, medical epidemiologist at MCDPH. “At this stage in the outbreak, for most people, the overall risk of being exposed to monkeypox remains very low. For household and social contacts of people who have gotten monkeypox and others at increased risk, we want to make sure they get the protection they need so we can slow the spread at this early stage.”
With vaccines coming in varying quantities at irregular intervals, MCDPH is asking people who are interested in getting vaccinated to let MCDPH know so that they can be notified as vaccine doses become available. People can check eligibility at Maricopa.gov/monkeypox, where they will also find a form to get notified about upcoming vaccine opportunities.
Monkeypox is most commonly spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected with monkeypox. Prevention measures for monkeypox are similar to those that reduce the spread of other viruses that spread in a similar way:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face, and after using the restroom and after touching other people.
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a new rash
- Stay home if you’re sick with symptoms of monkeypox or other illnesses
Symptoms often start with a fever, which may be accompanied by:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
One to three days after fever starts, a rash begins, often starting on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. The rash may begin as small, flat, round discolorations that become raised and fluid-filled (clear or pus) before scabbing. These spots and the fluid in them carry virus that can infect others. Once scabs fall off, the area is no longer infectious. These spots or lesions can appear anywhere on the skin, genitals, or inside the mouth. MCDPH is encouraging healthcare providers to offer testing for patients who present with monkeypox symptoms and a new, suspicious rash. Most patients with monkeypox fully recover from the virus without treatment.
“We have the tools we need to contain spread,” added Dr. Staab. “Vaccines are available to those who are at higher risk of exposure, testing is available through commercial labs, and treatment is available for people who are infected and at higher risk of severe illness.” With a federal emergency now declared, there may be more vaccine doses and other resources that will be available in the coming weeks and months.
For local information, visit Maricopa.gov/monkeypox; for national information, visit CDC.gov/monkeypox. Residents needing assistance with the website or interest form can contact MCDPH at (602) 506-6767 for assistance.
Vaccine images and B-roll are available upon request.