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Austin Public Health recommends monkeypox vaccine ahead of busy summer season

The department is recommending those at risk get the monkeypox vaccine after the area saw its first case since February.

AUSTIN, Texas —

Austin Public Health is issuing a warning for monkeypox, or mpox, and encouraging those at risk to get vaccinated for the illness ahead of a busy summer season. 

The health department has many places you can get a vaccine. 

Recently, the Austin-Travis County area had its first new mpox case since earlier this year in February. Now, public health officials are asking people to get vaccinated because that case could just be the first of many. 

Mpox first hit Austin and the rest of the country about a year ago, and the CDC is warning of a resurgence.

Dr. Desmar Walkes, director of Austin Public Health, said anyone can get mpox if they are exposed. But the more vulnerable population includes men who have sex with men and people with multiple sex partners. 

With the start of Pride Month, she recommends people take precautions, like getting the two-part vaccine, before attending any crowded events. 

"You can, you know, inquire as to whether or not a potential partner been vaccinated and whether or not they've been exposed," Walkes said. "You can check to see if there are sores on the skin and if there are, you know, that would be something that you'd want to say, 'Hey, let's put this off.'" 

Other protections include being fully clothed and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with strangers; washing or sanitizing your hands; and staying home if you feel sick or develop a rash. 

"People who are going to go and enjoy some festivities that we're going to be seeing on the calendar in the next couple of months should go out and get the vaccine just to protect themselves so that they can have that protection and be able to continue to socialize with their peers and loved ones," Walkes said.

Anyone should be able to get the two-part vaccine through their primary care provider. You can also visit this website or the department’s website to get an appointment.

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