Hundreds of doses of JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccines from Riverside County’s limited supply were distributed to health clinics in the Coachella Valley, a Riverside University Health System spokesman said Thursday.
Jose Arballo, a spokesman for the RUHS, told City News Service on Tuesday that the county had a little more than 1,000 doses of the two-dose-regimen JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, enough for about 500 people.
By Thursday, county health officials finalized a memorandum of understanding with DAP Health, Eisenhower Health and Borrego Health, prompting them to distribute 116 doses the vaccines into each of the clinics in the Coachella Valley, Arballo told CNS.
He added that and RUHS’ HIV clinic is also in the process of receiving 116 doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccines from the county’s limited supply.
As of Thursday, there were five probable and one confirmed monkeypox case in Eastern Riverside County, according to Arballo.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health advise for the administration of the vaccine to be prioritized for high-risk and exposed patients.
“We have a list of approximately 100 patients known to meet the criteria,” Rice Lee with Eisenhower Health told CNS. “We will be administering the vaccine beginning this week.” She added that the vaccines will be administered by Eisenhower Health Clinics beginning this week.
Health officials have said the risk of contracting monkeypox in the general population remains extremely low.
A total of 356 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in California — the second-highest of any state, behind New York’s 581 — while nationwide, the aggregate count is at 2,323, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
“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,” Kim Saruwatari, director of public health, said in a statement.
A portion of Riverside County’s supply of the JYNNEOS vaccines will be maintained by Public Health in case a large-scale exposure event occurs, according to a statement from RUHS.
The county is also working with community partners to expand the eligibility for the two-shot vaccines to include at-risk individuals, and to set up treatment sites with Tecovirimat — an antiviral medication used to treat orthopoxvirus infections like monkeypox — for patients, according to a statement from RUHS.
Monkeypox are generally spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting from infectious rashes and scabs, though respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during extended physical episodes, such as sexual intercourse, can also lead to transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox, or have been vaccinated for it, may have immunity to monkeypox, according to published reports.
People with symptoms are urged to visit a medical provider, cover the rash area with clothing, wear a mask and avoid close or skin-to-skin contact with others.
The CDC particularly recommends those steps for people who recently traveled to an area where monkeypox cases have been reported or who have had contact with a confirmed or suspected monkeypox case.
A full list of countries that have confirmed monkeypox cases is available at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/monkeypox.
A state-by-state tally of cases is available at www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us-map.html.