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Texas receives monkeypox vaccines

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The Texas Department of State Health Services(DSHS) received a shipment of 14,780 doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, according to a release from DSHS last week.

DSHS said they immediately forwarded 5,120 doses to Dallas County Health and Human Services. Dallas County has reported the largest number of confirmed monkeypox cases in Texas.

The remainder of the doses will be provided to local health departments and DSHS regional offices to vaccinate people with a documented or presumed exposure to the monkeypox virus. DSHS Public Region 8, which includes Bandera County has seen six cases of monkeypox as of last week, according to DSHS.

The shipment represents all the JYNNEOS vaccine available now to Texas from the federal Strategic National Stockpile. Houston and Harris County have received a separate shipment of approximately 5,000 doses from the SNS.

Health departments can request vaccine through the DSHS Vaccine Allocation and Ordering System.

“The JYNNEOS vaccine remains in limited supply, and additional vaccine is not expected to be available until late August or early September, so public health will continue to prioritize people at the highest risk for monkeypox,” read a DSHS release. “Vaccinating people who have been exposed to the virus will help protect them and keep them from spreading the disease to others.”

A dose of vaccine can prevent the disease from occurring if given soon after a person is exposed, ideally within four days.

If given five to 14 days after exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms but may not prevent the disease entirely. People need two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine to be fully vaccinated.

According to DSHS, most monkeypox cases in Texas have been transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact with the monkeypox rash of an infected person.

The illness is largely circulating among men who have sex with men, though there have been cases outside this population, says DSHS.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that starts with symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

Soon after, a rash of raised, flesh-colored bumps appears that progresses to look like pimples or blisters. People who develop a rash should avoid direct contact with other people and contact their health care provider as soon as possible.

Monkeypox can be very painful, but it is rarely life threatening, says DSHS.

There have no reported deaths in this outbreak in the United States, and hospitalizations in Texas have been for pain management, according to DSHS.