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Contra Costa expands monkeypox vaccine to all LGBTQ men regardless of virus exposure

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Contra Costa County has expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine to all LGBTQ men, not just those who may have been exposed to the virus.

First doses of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine for smallpox and MPX have been available only to people who have been exposed to someone with a confirmed MPX cases, sex workers or men who have sex with men who have had more than one sexual partner in the prior 14 days.

In addition to expanding eligibility for first doses, the county has also begun to administer second doses of the vaccine to those who have already received their first dose.

While the vaccine’s two doses are normally administered four weeks apart, state and local health officials have until recently focused on administering an initial vaccine dose to as many high-risk people as possible to ensure they have some level of protection against the virus.

“After months of MPX vaccine being scarce, we now have enough supply to vaccinate more people and provide more protection in the community,” county Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli said in a statement. “Vaccines offer excellent protection against MPX and help reduce spread of the virus.”

The vaccine can be administered preventatively or up to five days after an exposure to the MPX virus.

The vaccine is not effective after the onset of symptoms, which can include a fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and enlarged lymph nodes. Painful lesions or a rash can also appear.

MPX generally lasts up to two to four weeks, can resolve on its own without treatment and is rarely fatal.

As of Friday, just 123 of the state’s 3,897 reported MPX patients have been hospitalized, according to the California Department of Public Health. Contra Costa County has reported 72 probable or confirmed cases.

More than 3,700 MPX vaccine doses have been administered countywide.

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