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Monkeypox vaccine eligibility extended to include at-risk individuals in Austin

Austin health officials have also confirmed the first case within a local woman.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Helath (APH) and Wellness Equity Alliance (WEA) on Monday announced that at-risk individuals are now eligible for the monkeypox vaccine.

In accordance with the adjusted eligibility recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), APH is now administering the monkeypox vaccine to those that are considered "at-risk individuals." This ensures these individuals are protected before they are exposed to monkeypox, instead of after a known exposure.

“These vaccines have been critical in reducing the spread of monkeypox here in our community and protecting people from the severe pain the virus can cause,” said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “We encourage anyone who believes they may be at risk to see if they're eligible for a vaccine and schedule an appointment.”

APH began administering the vaccine in the summer to the populations that were deemed eligible by both the Texas Department of State Health Services and the CDC. Now that the eligibility has expanded, APH is encouraging residents to check their eligibility through WEA's website and to book an appointment for the vaccine.

Two doses of the monkeypox vaccine are necessary for full protection from the virus. Those that have received their first dose should receive their second dose four weeks after

APH has allocated about 4,000 vials of the vaccine to those at-risk within the city limits through APH's community partners. These partners also provide services to access PrEP for HIV. 

Prevention strategies are important to follow as anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get monkeypox. 

Austin-Travis County confirmed the first female case of monkeypox last week. This made the total of female cases reported in Texas add to 62. 

APH listed the following recommendations to avoid exposure to monkeypox:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with strangers and stay fully clothed
  • Limiting close contact with people you know
  • Wear a mask in close quarters where social distancing isn't an option
  • Washing and sanitizing your hands, and cleaning surfaces, as often as possible
  • Staying home if you feel sick or show symptoms 


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