San Diego County health officials announced the distribution of 705 vials of monkeypox vaccine this week to healthcare providers around the region.
Each of the vials can provide five doses via “intradermal injection” into the skin under new FDA guidelines instead of the single dose via standard injection originally authorized. The change will stretch the nation’s limited vaccine supply
Local healthcare providers are expected to independently notify patients who qualify for the vaccine and then schedule vaccination appointments. These appointments are not being made by the county or through 2-1-1 emergency assistance line.
“Being able to expand the number of doses through the intradermal procedure is going to help us vaccinate many more eligible San Diegans,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer.
“Because the overall supply of vaccine remains extremely short of what is needed, we will continue to request additional doses from the state,” she said. “In the meantime, we ask those at high risk to be cautious about their partners and have any signs of monkeypox immediately checked out by a physician.”
So far there have been 223 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox in the county, almost all among gay males, but no deaths. There have been more than 15,000 cases and no deaths nationwide.
Monkeypox is a viral disease related to smallpox but typically not fatal. It is spread by contact with body fluids. The disease is endemic in parts of Africa, where it affects all population groups.