County of Santa Clara Now Vaccinating against Monkeypox (MPX) Up to Five Times More People at Highest Risk
The County of Santa Clara is expanding access to vaccination for people at highest risk of contracting monkeypox (MPX) by administering the Jynneos vaccine using an authorized technique that stretches vaccine supply. This comes at a time when vaccine supply still falls far short of the need. Previously, a single vial of vaccine could serve only one person; that vial can now serve as many as five people.
A change announced by the federal government last week allows the County to stretch its remaining supply to vaccinate hundreds of eligible individuals now, and thousands more as soon as the County receives its next allocation of vaccine from the state and federal governments. The County organized the necessary medical supplies and staff training to begin using the newly approved technique promptly, and more than 100 individuals received MPX vaccination with the new technique yesterday.
The County, like other healthcare providers across the country, will follow the new U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authorization and State of California endorsement of this adjustment. The FDA last week issued an emergency use authorization for intradermal injection of the Jynneos vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older determined to be at high risk for MPX infection. This method involves injecting the vaccine just under the top layer of skin (intradermal) instead of the current method of injecting under the skin (subcutaneous). This change has been demonstrated to allow for a similar immune response with a much smaller dose and means that each vial of vaccine can be used to protect more people.
“We are ready and standing by to open thousands of additional vaccine appointments for eligible people, as soon as additional vaccine arrives from the federal government supply,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
“The intradermal injection is already used with other medical procedures, such as tuberculosis skin testing,” continued Dr. Jennifer Tong. “It’s helpful to have this additional technique—a technique that is already familiar to our nurses and staff--authorized for use with MPX vaccine as well. The County’s clinics and vaccination sites that offer MPX vaccine will be able to serve many more people as a result.”
Due to the ongoing shortage of available vaccine, MPX vaccine is available by invitation or appointment only for individuals at highest risk of contracting the disease. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the County of Santa Clara received a total of just 4,664 MPX vaccine vials for administration by the County sites and other healthcare systems, and most have already been used to protect community members. Large healthcare systems receive vaccine from the County so they can protect their own highest risk patients.
"Shortage of MPX vaccine remains the greatest barrier to controlling the current outbreak in the Bay Area. Today is a step forward in removing that barrier, a step forward towards the goal of having a dose of MPX vaccine for everyone who needs one," said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. "It’s important to remember that doctors don’t recommend MPX vaccine for most people right now. Before looking for an appointment, check the eligibility criteria to see who is recommended to get a shot to protect against MPX."
Getting vaccinated is a vital step in reducing a person’s risk for getting MPX. However, no vaccine provides 100% protection to everyone who gets it; people who are vaccinated are still encouraged to take other steps that they are able to take to reduce their risk.
Although anyone can get MPX if they have prolonged skin-on-skin contact with someone with an infectious MPX rash or lesion, right now, MPX is disproportionately impacting men who have multiple or anonymous male partners. Not all men or trans people who have sex with men are at high risk. Therefore, not all men or trans people who have sex with men are eligible for vaccination at this time, but as vaccine supplies increase, eligibility criteria will expand. Getting a vaccine before exposure or soon after exposure – ideally within 4 days but up to 14 days after – can help prevent becoming infected with the MPX virus.
In Santa Clara County, individuals eligible for the MPX vaccine include people who meet at least one of the risk criteria below:
- Individuals who had direct physical contact with someone confirmed to have MPX
- Individuals notified by another health department or facility that they have had direct physical contact with someone who has tested positive for MPX
- Men and trans people who have sex with men, who have had more than 1 sexual partner in the past 14 days
- Sex workers or anyone who engages in transactional or survival sex
- Individuals who attended an event or venue where a person contagious with monkeypox was at the event or venue and had direct physical contact with other people there
The World Health Organization (WHO) has started a process to change the name of the virus, which doesn’t accurately describe the virus and has a problematic history. While we await the WHO action, the County Public Health Department has started, along with the state and other counties, replacing the term “monkeypox” with alternatives such as MPX, pronounced “em-pox,” when possible.
For additional information about who is eligible for a vaccination, as well as prevention, testing, treatment, and other MPX information, visit the Public Health Department website. Individuals meeting eligibility criteria can make an appointment for monkeypox vaccine with the County at vax.sccgov.org, and eligible people with health insurance can also contact their regular doctor to obtain vaccination through their own healthcare system.
More information about monkeypox can be found here:
County of Santa Clara Public Health Department
California Department of Public Health