King County received our most recent shipment of 3300 monkeypox vaccines on July 27. This blog provides information on plans for distributing these doses.
In our last update on July 22, 2022, we shared that Public Health received an initial allocation of 1420 vaccine doses. Over the past week, we distributed doses to eight initial sites, with a remaining 134 doses to be distributed to partners the next few days.
While continuing their normal business operations, these clinics have quickly ramped up to provide vaccination to people at highest risk for recent exposure. For example, yesterday, the Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview Medical Center vaccinated 90 people at high risk and assessed many others for high risk of monkeypox.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. To date, all of the patients diagnosed with monkeypox in King County have been among men who reported sexual or close intimate contact with other men, sometimes with anonymous or multiple partners. Currently, people at highest risk of recent exposure to monkeypox are men who have sex with men who have physical contact with multiple partners, anonymous sex, or are connected to sexual networks with multiple partners. In addition, partners of people diagnosed with monkeypox are at high risk.
Data indicates that there at least 20,000 people at highest risk for monkeypox exposure and likely an additional 20,000 people who may be at elevated risk. Therefore, King County will likely need vaccine for closer to 40,000 people in the near term. To date, Public Health has received 4,720 doses. Therefore, in this vaccine scarce environment, we are using multiple strategies to reach those at highest risk among these 40,000 people.
For example, Public Health is working with community partners to plan for a community vaccine clinic. We are also expanding the number of healthcare providers who can offer vaccine in addition to the eight providers already receiving doses.
To ensure equitable access across King County, we are using the following criteria to guide decisions on where to distribute vaccine to:
- Providers who serve the most people at highest risk.
- Communities disproportionately affected in the current outbreak: Based on recent data, the majority of cases are among White Residents. 27% of cases are among Hispanic/LatinX residents. We will prioritize vaccine distribution to people disproportionately impacted.
- Areas of the county where current cases are concentrated, while also ensuring availability across King County. To date, the majority of identified cases have resided in central Seattle.
- People with less access to healthcare: Public Health will prioritize vaccine access for people who have less access to care, including those who are uninsured or unhoused.
- Doses may also be used for outbreaks in congregate settings such as homeless shelters.
- For more information on our criteria visit our King County monkeypox vaccine webpage.
It’s likely that cases will continue to rise in the immediate future. This likely is due to both increased transmission and increased diagnoses as the population as medical providers become more aware of the infection and testing becomes more available.
Until the outbreak is under control and more people are vaccinated, we can reduce the spread of this disease by adjusting our riskiest behaviors in the short term, such as limiting the number of sex partners and avoiding gatherings with skin-to-skin contact. Talk to your partner about any recent sores or rashes.
Check our monkeypox website for ways to reduce risk. We will continue to provide updates on vaccine, testing, treatment options and our strategy at our website.
Originally posted 7/27/2022