LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — "Limited" appointments to get vaccinated against monkeypox are available in Clark County starting Monday, the Southern Nevada Health District announced.
The appointments are open for "individuals who are at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox."
According to health officials, those individuals include:
- Those who had close physical contact within the past 14 days with someone known or suspected of having monkeypox. This includes those who know or suspect their sexual partner(s) of having monkeypox.
- Those who have been informed by the Health District they are a close contact of someone with monkeypox.
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary who had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days, especially at a venue, event, or within a social group where a person with a known or suspected case of monkeypox was present.
- Those meeting any of the above criteria who may be at increased risk for severe disease if infected with monkeypox should especially be vaccinated. This includes people with HIV or another condition that weakens their immune system or those with a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Notably, individuals who had monkeypox are not eligible, officials said. The vaccine is currently only licensed for people 18 years old and older, they noted.
Health officials wanted to emphasize that they have a limited amount of the vaccine, so appointment availability will reflect that. They've requested additional doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine "and appointments will be expanded when they are received."
Multiple probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox have been recorded in Clark County since July 20. For each reported case, the health district investigates and does contact tracing to identify close contacts of the infected person. Those contacts are monitored and receive the vaccine if appropriate.
"It is recommended the vaccine be given within four days of exposure," officials said. "If the vaccine is administered within four to 14 days after the date of exposure, it may help reduce symptoms."
What is monkeypox and how does it spread?
Epidemiologists say monkeypox spreads from person to person through close physical contact with infectious monkeypox sores and bodily fluids or through contact with objects or fabric that have been used by someone who has the disease. It can also spread through sexual contact and prolonged face-to-face contact, officials said.
The disease is rare, officials said. Beginning symptoms of monkeypox are said to include:
- muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
- rash — often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, including genitalia
The incubation period is typically between seven to 14 days but can range from five to 21 days. Illness from monkeypox typically lasts between two to four weeks, and is mild in most people.
Those at risk of contracting the disease include people who have recently traveled internationally or those who've had close contact with someone with monkeypox. Health officials advised people with "unknown rashes or lesions" to contact a health care provider and avoid sex until you've seen a doctor.
To make an appointment to receive the monkeypox vaccine, visit the Southern Nevada Health District's website here, or call 702-759-0850.