© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Hillsborough health officials say they have enough monkeypox vaccine to serve eligible people

Gloved hands hold a syringe that's pulling vaccine from a vial
Tobias Arhelger - stock.adobe.co
There's limited monkeypox vaccine supply nationally, so only certain high-risk groups can access it.

Only high-risk individuals can access monkeypox vaccines rights now, but the health department in Hillsborough says it has enough shots for them.

Monkeypox cases in Hillsborough County remain low, with eight confirmed cases as of Thursday. Vaccines are available, but only certain people can access them. Health officials in the county say they have enough supplies to serve those individuals.

The federal government is taking a phased approach to distributing monkeypox vaccines as it ramps up supplies, and the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, according to public information officer Ryan L. Terry.

The department is administering the JYNNEOS vaccine, and offers it to the following individuals:

  • Known contacts who are identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments
  • Presumed contacts who may meet the following criteria:
    • Immunocompromised men who have sex with men with HIV (< 200 CD4 white blood cells per ml3) with potential exposure
    • Laboratory personnel and select health care personnel at high risk for monkeypox
  • All other men who have sex with men with HIV or a history of STDs who had a potential exposure
  • Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox

In Hillsborough, there are enough shots to meet demand for those groups, said Terry.
“There is no vaccine shortage because we are right in line with the phased approach that the CDC has laid out that we are following,” he said. “So anybody that does fall within those criteria, will be able to get the vaccine.”

Anyone concerned they may have monkeypox should contact their primary care provider, said Terry. Those who don’t have one can also reach out to the department’s University-area STD clinic at 813-307-8058.

Visual examples of monkeypox rash
CDC and NHS England High Consequences Infectious Diseases Network
Health officials recommend people avoid close skin-to-skin contact with anyone displaying a rash that looks like monkeypox. Here's some examples.

While the threat to the general public is low at the moment, residents should still take steps to protect themselves. Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has more resources about the virus and the vaccine guidelines on its monkeypox webpage.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.