Monkeypox in Houston: Health Department receives delivery of vaccines

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Of the 5,024 doses, HHD plans to save 3,516 and donate 1,508 doses to Harris County Public Health.

HOUSTON — Friday, Houston Department of Health received a shipment of over 5,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine.

Editor’s Note: The videos attached to this article are from KHOU 11’s reporting on the monkeypox outbreak.

Of the 5,024 doses, HHD plans to save 3,516 and give 1,508 doses to Harris County Public Health.

HHD says it plans to prioritize doses for those who have come into contact with monkeypox, are presumed to have come into contact with the virus, or are at high risk of exposure.

“While the threat of monkeypox to the general population of Houston remains low, we welcome this vaccine delivery and hope to receive more as there is a need in the community,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “I have instructed our health department to remain vigilant in its work of educating and advocating for those deemed most at risk.”

RELATED: World Health Organization declares monkeypox a global health emergency

Due to limited vaccine supplies nationwide, HHD says health officials are not recommending widespread vaccination at this time. Dose allocation in Texas is done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“Our department has been a strong advocate for weeks for an increased supply of dedicated monkeypox doses to the Houston area,” HHD Director Stephen Williams said. “The shipment represents a significant step forward in protecting those most at risk of contracting this disease in our community.”

The vaccine is a two-dose series, given four weeks apart, according to HHD.

RELATED: Here’s what you need to know about monkeypox

How is monkeypox spread?

  • The disease, which can cause a severe rash, appears to be spread largely through direct contact with an infected person’s skin or saliva.
  • Monkeypox can be spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids such as saliva.
  • It can also be transmitted during prolonged face-to-face contact via respiratory droplets.
  • Pregnant women can transmit the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
  • At this time, it is not known whether monkeypox can be spread through semen or vaginal secretions. However, the DSHS says the majority of cases in Texas so far involve men who have had sex with other men.

Symptoms of Monkey Pox

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Rash that looks like pimples or blisters; the rash often appears first on the face and/or inside the mouth, then on other parts of the body.

Anyone who develops a rash should avoid direct contact with other people and contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible for next steps.

“We want people to know what the symptoms are and if they have any, in order to avoid the kinds of close contact with other people that can spread the disease,” said Dr Jennifer Shuford, chief epidemiologist at the Texas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUmJV0iuduY

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