MPX vaccine eligibility and how to get one

MPX vaccines are easier to get than ever.

LA County has expanded eligibility for the vaccine, making it more widely available at walk-up clinics across the county.

Cases of MPX have cratered after an exponential rise in early August. An encouraging bar chart from the LA County Department of Public Health visualizes the precipitous drop: In August, there were over 200 new MPX cases in LA County each week. But in the first week of September there were only 148, and the numbers have continued to fall. Countrywide data shows similar trends.

“The good news is… it looks like we’ve peaked and things seem to be improving,” said Dr. Erica Pan, California State Epidemiologist, last week.

MPX is very rarely fatal; The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 62,406 global cases Monday, with a total of 20 deaths. On September 12, public health officials said Los Angeles County had recorded the country’s first MPX death. The person was severely immunocompromised and was hospitalized, officials said.

Cases of this outbreak continue to spread, mainly among men who have sex with men and transgender people, although anyone can contract the virus. MPX is not easily transmitted, but typically spreads through close skin-to-skin contact, which may involve sex.

The county has administered more than 60,000 first doses of the MPX vaccine. Following a shortage of Jynneos vaccines this summer, availability across the country has increased dramatically, further expanded by a new method of administering the vaccines that requires only a fraction of a full vial.

Who is eligible for the MPX vaccine?

Eligibility has been extended to include individuals who may be at risk for future exposure to MPX. Several groups are newly eligible for an MPX vaccine starting September 8: All gay or bisexual men; any male or transgender person who has sex with male or transgender people; Persons of any gender or sexual orientation who engage in commercial and/or transactional sex, including in exchange for goods, services, food and shelter; anyone with HIV; and anyone who has had skin contact or intimate contact with someone with a suspected or confirmed case of MPX, even if the case has not been confirmed by the health department.

Anyone previously eligible for vaccination against MPX remains eligible in LA County. This includes gay or bisexual men or transgender people who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the past 14 days.
  • You have had skin contact or intimate contact (e.g. kissing or hugging) with people at large venues or events in the past 14 days.
  • You are taking medication for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.
  • You have had sex anonymously or with multiple people at a commercial sex venue or other location in the past 21 days. (Carpenter said this would include things like a sex party, a club, a sauna or spa where people tend to engage in sexual activity, or an establishment where people pay for sex.)
  • You had high or moderate exposure to MPX (the CDC has a list of what counts as exposure at these levels).
  • You attended an event or venue where there was a high risk of exposure through skin contact or sexual contact with people with MPX.
  • They are homeless and behave risky.
  • You have had gonorrhea or early syphilis in the past 12 months.
  • You are in prison and have been classified as a high-risk patient by clinic staff.
  • You are severely immunocompromised – for example, you are undergoing chemotherapy, are taking high doses of steroids or other immunosuppressants, or have advanced or uncontrolled HIV infection.

Minors who meet the eligibility criteria can receive the vaccine. Those aged 16 or 17 must either be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or bring a consent form signed by a parent. Children between the ages of 6 months and 15 years must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult with an informed consent form signed by the child’s parent or legal guardian.

The county does not require people to show ID to get the vaccine, but recommends that people use the same name that appears on their ID if they need to get their vaccination card at some point in the future. Vaccination centers will ask you to confirm your eligibility to receive the vaccination yourself.

Where can I get the MPX vaccine?

You can visit Myturn.ca.gov to schedule your two-dose MPX vaccine at a pharmacy or to find an outpatient clinic. While you’re there, consider getting your updated Omicron booster for COVID-19.

You can also get an MPX shot at any of the following public health clinics:

Balboa Sports Complex
17015 Burbank Blvd
Encino, CA 91316
Opening times: Wed-Sun, 11 a.m.-6 p.m

Center of Market Street
22900 Marktstr.
Santa Clarita, CA 91321
Opening hours: Wed.-Sun., 12.00-19.00

Ted Watkins Memorial Park
1335 E 103rd street
Los Angeles, CA 90002
Opening times: Wed-Sun, 11 a.m.-6 p.m

Obregon Park
4021 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90063
Opening times: Wed-Sun, 11 a.m.-6 p.m

Do not go to a vaccination center if you have symptoms or think you have MPX. Call your doctor or the Department of Health at (833) 540-0473.

What about the second vaccine dose?

The Jynneos vaccine is said to be a two-dose regimen, separated by about four weeks. Officials encourage people to get both doses for optimal protection.

In mid-September, LA County health officials said only about a third of people who were eligible for their second shot had received it.

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose.

What treatment is available for MPX?

While most people recover from MPX without medical intervention, the Food and Drug Administration has approved an antiviral drug that can be used in certain severe cases. Tecovirmat, often called TPOXX, has become much more accessible to MPX sufferers in recent weeks after initially being very difficult to find or get prescribed. The drug is only for use in severe cases, or in people at higher risk of serious medical conditions, which include those with compromised immune systems, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or children, according to the CDC.

People who need treatment should see their doctor or call the LA County Public Health Call Center at (833) 540-0473, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

As of Sept. 16, nearly 400 people in LA County had received TPOXX, which is most commonly prescribed for severe pain or because of a lesion in a tender area, according to the county health department. The vast majority were not hospitalized, and about half had HIV.

Severely immunocompromised people are at risk for serious disease from MPX and have been advised to “seek medical attention and treatment early and have provider care throughout the disease course,” said Dr. Rita Singhal, chief medical officer for the LA County Health Department.

Has the name of this virus changed?

Officially not yet.

But amid widespread concerns that the virus’ original name is racist and stigmatizing, the World Health Organization and other public health officials have pledged to find a replacement. The WHO has started the formal process of renaming the disease, although it will likely take months.

Meanwhile, California health officials have started calling the disease MPX — pronounced mpox — which The Times has also adopted for their coverage.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-20/mpx-vaccine-eligibility-availability MPX vaccine eligibility and how to get one

Alley Einstein

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