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Monkeypox vaccines to be distributed in KC metro as early as Friday

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Posted at 10:13 AM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-14 06:56:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The University of Kansas Health System’s morning medical update Friday discussed the Kansas City metro’s response to monkeypox since it was declared a national health emergency.

There are currently four cases within the metro, including one in Johnson County. Across Kansas and Missouri, there are 22 total cases, with 19 concentrated in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has designated the St. Louis County Department of Public Health as the vaccine hub in the St. Louis area. It will serve the city of St. Louis in addition to St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

So far 1,900 vials are available within the region.

While there is one licensed manufacturer for the monkeypox vaccine and a limited supply, KC area doctors are optimistic based on the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation Wednesday that allows five times the amount of people to be vaccinated.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System spoke about the reliability of data researched on the subject. Instead of giving one dose subcutaneously, directly into the arm as most vaccines are administered, the doses can be split into five doses if given intradermally, just under the skin.

Two doses are required for the monkeypox vaccine.

In Wyandotte County, Kansas, Unified Government Medical Officer Dr. Allen Greiner says vaccines will begin to be distributed as early as Friday to those who qualify and are at the highest risk.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has sent 1,100 doses — meaning it can be split into 5,500 doses to treat 2,750 people — to Kansas, Hawkinson reports.

He mentioned he is unaware of how many vaccines will be made available by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department has 1,800 doses that can be stretched to 9,000 and used to provide two doses for 4,500 people.

Scott Clardy, deputy director of the department, says sign-ups to receive the vaccine will be available online starting next week.

Anyone who has been exposed to a known positive case qualifies for a vaccine. Other qualifying factors include:

  • Those whose jobs expose them to orthopoxviruses
  • Anyone who has had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in areas with known monkeypox
  • Anyone who has traveled within 21 days of illness onset outside of the U.S. to a country with confirmed monkeypox and/or where monkeypox virus is endemic
  • Close or intimate in-person contact with persons in a social network experiencing monkeypox infections

When someone contracts monkeypox, they are unable to go to work or into public for about two to four weeks — it depends on how quickly legions fully crust and scabs fall off, which doctors say can be painful.
Hawkinson along with Greiner, and two other Kansas City-area doctors who spoke on Friday's call, agree monkeypox should not be categorized as a sexually transmitted virus but rather as a skin-to-skin contact-spread virus.

If you believe you qualify for a monkeypox vaccine or have any questions, reach out to a local health care provider:

  • KCMO Health Department: 816-513-6008
  • University of Kansas Health System: 913-588-1227
    • NOTE: Only Health System patients can receive the vaccine from the Health System
      • Patients can also contact their primary care provider via the MyChart app

The entirety of Friday’s medical briefing can be viewed below.