Health Trends

Coachella Valley health providers receiving Monkeypox vaccine from County

Community health partners in the Coachella Valley will receive a portion of Riverside County’s Monkeypox vaccine allotment so that clinics can provide the two-shot vaccine series to patients, health officials announced on Tuesday.

Riverside County currently has a total of one confirmed case and four probable cases. All of them are residents of eastern Riverside County, which includes Coachella Valley.

Of the two newer cases, health officials told News Channel 3 that one of them is a man under the age of 35, who is hospitalized. The other is a man under 60.

“As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, our community-based partners are a great resource that have always looked out for the best interest of residents,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of Public Health. “By sharing the vaccine, which is in limited supply, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for patients to get the shot if they and their medical provider agree it is appropriate.”

Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling.

Monkeypox can spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact.

News Channel 3’s Miyoshi Price spoke with officials from the Desert Aids Project about what some people would call the stigmatization of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The stigma is a very fine line to walk on to alert the community to educated people but at the same time not go down that path of stigmatizing a people,” said Dr. David Morris of DAP Health.

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Vaccination helps to protect against Monkeypox when given before or shortly after an exposure.

At this time, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has allocated a limited number of JYNNEOS vaccine doses to Riverside County. JYNNEOS is licensed for adults 18 years and over. It is administered as a two dose injection series in the upper arm at least four weeks apart.

Public Health officials said it will continue to maintain a supply of the Monkeypox vaccine that could be used in the event of a large-scale exposure event.

A few weeks ago, we spoke with Barbara Cole, director of the disease control for the county, about the plan for vaccine distribution.

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Riverside County will provide the vaccine to people who have been in close contact with someone who has had Monkeypox who are identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments.

The county is collaborating with community partners to start providing the vaccine to individuals with certain risk factors who are more likely to have been recently exposed to monkeypox, as well as those in occupational risk of monkeypox. This can include laboratory workers who perform monkeypox testing, and clinical workers who regularly collect monkeypox specimens.

In addition, the county is working with community partners to set up treatment sites with Tecovirimat (TPOXX) for patients who are at higher risk of severe disease from monkeypox. At this time, most patients have not required TPOXX and symptoms have resolved on their own with symptom management strategies.

Officials said they are encouraging community partners to utilize the available commercial laboratories that recently have started monkeypox testing, which will allow for quicker testing turnaround.

There are a number of ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, including:

  • Always talking to your sexual partner/s about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus
  • Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • People who become infected should isolate until their symptoms are improving or have gone away completely. Rash should always be well covered until completely healed.
  • Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
  • Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
  • Avoiding contact with infected animals

Residents are encouraged to review the CDC’s tips for preventing exposure to Monkeypox. 

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

Be the first to know when news breaks in Coachella Valley. Download the News Channel 3 app here.

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