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Maricopa County to prioritize high-risk people for limited supply of monkeypox vaccine

MCDPH will prioritize vaccinating people who are at the highest risk of exposure to slow the spread of disease, in accordance with federal requirements.

PHOENIX — Maricopa County public health officials said they now have more monkeypox vaccines available.

This comes after the Biden administration declared the disease outbreak a public health emergency in the United States.

RELATED: US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

‘Better safe than sorry'

Bennett Allen Wood said it was stories from people he follows on social media about their experiences with monkeypox that encouraged him to get vaccinated.

“I kind of looked it up and saw like on the CDC website, what it said about like, prevention and how it spread and everything and like I'm friends with and a part of the LGBTQ+ community. And so just better safe than sorry,” Wood said.

Wood still has the adhesive bandage on the back of his arm from the shot he got two days ago,  saying it was easier than getting his COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine is a two-dose series, so Wood will get his second dose in a few weeks.

“It's definitely something that people shouldn't have to go through, and I feel bad for anyone who's had this disease, and I hope that they have the sources and the materials to get to a vaccine shortly,” Wood said.

Demand for vaccine high in Maricopa County

Dr. Nick Staab, a medical epidemiologist with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said the department recently got 3,500 new doses of the monkeypox vaccine.

“Our demand for vaccines for monkeypox has been very high,” Staab said.

Stabb said right now, the department of health said they’re working to vaccinate those who are at higher risk for monkeypox.

On the county health’s website, the department said those at higher risk include: gay or bisexual men, cis or transgender men, transgender women, anyone who lives with a person who has monkeypox, and health care providers who are likely to be exposed to monkeypox daily.

“Monkeypox is transmitted in a very different way than COVID-19. So monkeypox really requires close skin-to-skin contact between somebody who has the virus and has the rash and someone who does not,” Staab said.

Hoping to slow the spread

Staab believes the vaccine will help contain the spread of monkeypox.

“There's certainly the possibility for it to spread beyond this particular group that we're seeing the transmission currently. But we haven't seen that yet. And so we're watching for that closely,” Staab said.

As more of the limited supply of vaccines become available, those eligible to get the vaccine will expand.

“There will be a time we hope in the future, again, based on that supply, that everyone who's interested in being vaccinated will have access to a vaccine,” Staab said.

Those interested in getting the monkeypox vaccine can find more information and check their eligibility for the vaccine here.

There is a vaccine clinic coming up on Monday, August 8, from 5-8 p.m. at 1645 E. Roosevelt in Phoenix. MCDPH said there is eligibility criteria, but it’s a walk-in clinic while supplies last.

MORE: 4 Fast Facts about monkeypox

People can check their eligibility at the Maricopa.gov website and also find a form to get notified about upcoming vaccine opportunities.

For additional information on symptoms and prevention strategies, visit the Maricopa County and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

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RELATED: US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

ALSO: Monkeypox cases in Arizona not cause for concern yet, expert says

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