Orange County nonprofit hosts monkeypox vaccine clinic for those most at risk

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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More and more organizations are stepping up due to the growing need for monkeypox vaccines in their communities, including a nonprofit in Orange County.

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- The number of monkeypox cases continues to climb across the U.S.

As of Aug. 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 12,000 cases in the nation.

Health care organizations like Families Together of Orange County are trying to bridge the gap between people in the community most at risk and the monkeypox vaccine they need to stay healthy.

Matias Axelrod said he was aware that doses of the monkeypox vaccine were limited and stopped by the vaccine clinic on Tuesday.

"I actually just found out about this clinic randomly last night, so you really just have to keep Googling over and over until you find something," Axelrod said.

Families Together hosted the monkeypox vaccine clinic in Tustin.

"We're being proactive. This is not reactive," said Dr. Sue Reddy, an associate medical director for Families Together.

Axelrod got his first dose of the Jynneos shot for peace of mind.

"It definitely can affect everyone, but it seems like the primary mode of transmission is happening between men who have sex with men," he said. "So I think we need to be honest about that, that it is prevalent in our community in particular."

Health experts like Dr. Jen Ashton, chief medical correspondent for ABC News, said even though monkeypox is not a particularly contagious virus it does primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact.

Ashton said rare cases have been reported in children.

"There are just at least seven pediatric confirmed cases in the United States," Ashton said. "There are millions and millions of children in this age group, so overall the risk is incredibly low."

Health officials say pets are also not immune.

The CDC said dogs can be infected after researchers in France reported one case of a dog that developed monkeypox after being exposed by its owners.

Experts encourage those who are eligible for the monkeypox vaccine to get the shot as soon as they can to protect themselves.

Families Together of Orange County said they had enough doses of the vaccine to treat up to 250 people, but add if and when the county makes more vaccines available, they'll be able to host more clinics.