Monkeypox vaccines are headed to the St. Louis area.
Along with a plan to expand “eligibility for vaccination based on recent increased transmission of the virus in the region,” state and regional health officials have announced that St. Louis County Department of Health will serve as the St. Louis region’s hub for monkeypox vaccination.
A press release from the county’s department of health detailed that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has distributed 1,900 vials of monkeypox vaccine to the department for use within the region. This means St. Louis County, the city of St. Louis, St. Charles County and Jefferson County will all have a point to get the vaccine if need be.
Recent recommendations from the CDC indicate one vial of the vaccine may be used for multiple people, and Missouri health officials are incorporating that guidance into their practice. Each person needs to receive two doses of the vaccine. The department will also be responsible for distributing the vaccine beyond the region if need for vaccine availability increases.
A portion of the vials will be reserved for health departments and healthcare providers that may come into contact with monkeypox.
The DHSS has set up a survey for those who are at a high-risk of contracting monkeypox and may qualify for the first round of doses.
St. Louis city and county recently announced their first probable cases of monkeypox. Monkeypox is a virus in the same family as smallpox, but it is unrelated to chickenpox. Symptoms can include: Fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, muscle aches and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth or other body parts. The illness can last two to four weeks, and some may get the rash before other symptoms develop or only have the rash.
Transmission of monkeypox varies, but is primarily spread through direct contact. Precautions you can take include not touching the rash or scabs of an infected person; kissing, hugging or other intimate contact with a person infected with monkeypox; and not handling or touching the bedding, towels or clothing of a person with monkeypox. For more information, you can visit the DHSS' website.