Lexington health leaders working to get more people vaccinated against monkeypox

Lexington health leaders working to get more people vaccinated against monkeypox
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 10:47 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington health leaders said that Thursday’s monkeypox vaccine clinic was a success. More than 500 people received their first dose of the two-dose vaccine, and they’re trying to get as much people vaccinated as possible.

Health department officials said there is a big misconception out there surrounding monkeypox. In short, it’s not just a sexually transmitted disease, and it’s not just affecting gay and bisexual men.

“The vaccine right now is for a targeted audience because there is a limited supply of the vaccine, but monkeypox can happen to anyone,” said Kevin Hall with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Hall said the virus spreads through close physical contact, which could include sexual activity, but not necessarily.

“It can be spread through hugging, kissing, it can be spread through athletic events with people who are going to be bodies pressed against each other,” Hall said.

Right now, the health department is in the middle of a phased vaccination rollout. Phase one was exclusively for close contact of people with monkeypox, phase two is for close contacts and men who have sex with men and meet other criteria, and phase three will expand this out to anyone who wants to get the vaccine.

“When the vaccine is available to you and you’re part of that phase, get the protection that is needed because it is not just for one group,” Hall said.

Hall said the department is going to continue administering the vaccine at their public health clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and if the need arises for another mass vaccination clinic, they’ll be ready to do that too.

You can click here to find out more information about monkeypox and how to get a vaccine.