Monkeypox vaccine clinic opening in Denver for high risk individuals

Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin.

Updated July 1, 2022 at 6:30 a.m.

All appointment slots have been filled, according to CDPHE. The health department says its vaccine supply is "extremely limited," but it is working to secure more doses from the federal stockpile.

State health officials plan to administer 200 doses of monkeypox vaccines to high-risk individuals in the Denver metro area this weekend to help curb the spread of the disease. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Wednesday that it had secured an “extremely-limited” supply of vaccines from a federal stockpile. It  encourages interested individuals to register online for a spot at its pop-up clinic. 

“We expect demand may outweigh supply, so we are asking the federal government for more vaccines,” said Scott Bookman, division director of CDPHE’s Disease Control and Public Health Response Division, in a press release. “But for right now, we can’t sit on this valuable tool we have to prevent spread.” 

The vaccines are available to men aged 18 years and older who are gay or bisexual. Slots are also open to any men who have had multiple male sexual partners in the past 14 days, according to the release.

Anyone who believes they have been in close contact with someone who had monkeypox in the last 14 days also qualifies, the release said. 

The monkeypox virus can spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. It is rarely deadly, with a fatality rate of less than one percent. 

Symptoms can last up to four weeks and include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. Typically, a rash or skin bumps develop after the onset of fever, beginning on the face and spreading to other parts of the body. 

The disease is endemic in central and west Africa, but has recently been spreading in parts of the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. 

Colorado’s first positive case was detected in Denver in May. In June, CDPHE recorded at least four more cases.

At least two dozen individuals in the state have received post-exposure vaccinations so far. The two-dose vaccine is fully FDA approved, and each dose is given four weeks apart.

“Vaccination following a high-risk exposure is the best way to help prevent infection or reduce the severity of illness if someone contracts monkeypox,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, in the state’s release. “Our response will continue to evolve, as we expect to receive additional guidance and vaccines from the federal government.”

People hoping to attend weekend’s clinic must receive email confirmation for an appointment. Those who can’t get an appointment and think or know they have been exposed to monkeypox should contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible, according to CDPHE.