TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Health Department has announced another round of vaccine clinics for Monkeypox, which will be held Thursday, Sept. 22, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The clinic will be held at TCHD’s location at 55 Brown Road in Ithaca. Appointments, which are required, can be made via calling 2-1-1 (1-877-211-8667) for assistance registering or doing at this link.

The vaccine is free of cost and is available for those at high risk of infection who meet the following criteria, as determined by New York State Department of Health:

  • Any individual that may be at risk of future exposure to infection with monkeypox, even though they are not at high risk of a recent exposure to monkeypox.
  • Individuals with recent exposure to a suspected or confirmed monkeypox case within the past 14 days.
  • Those at high risk of a recent exposure to monkeypox, including gay men and members of the bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming community and other communities of men who have sex with men and who have engaged in intimate or skin-to-skin contact with others in the past 14 days.
  • Individuals who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, including men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event, such as a bar or party.

“In the clinics we held earlier this month, all 72 available doses were distributed,” said Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “We are grateful to the community for their efforts to reduce spread of this disease locally. Public health measures, like the vaccine, are working to stop the spread; please continue to stay informed, take precautions to prevent infection, and contact your healthcare provider right away if you suspect you may have come in contact with someone who has the disease or if you are experiencing symptoms.”

More from the Tompkins County Health Department:

JYNNEOS is a vaccine licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a two-dose series for the prevention of monkeypox among adults ages 18 years and older. If given before exposure or within 4 days of exposure, this vaccine may reduce the likelihood of infection. Within 14 days of exposure, it may reduce severity of symptoms. The two vaccine doses are given four weeks apart, and individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose.

People who get vaccinated should continue to take steps to protect themselves from infection by avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who has monkeypox.

TCHD has been monitoring monkeypox cases locally; as of September 19, 2022, there have been 3 reported cases in county residents.

TCHD continues to ask residents to remain aware of symptoms of monkeypox and take steps to reduce your risk.

  • Avoid close face-to-face and skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a monkeypox-related rash or other symptoms.
  • Ask your sexual partner(s) whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox and if so, delay sex until they are evaluated by a healthcare provider.
  • If you are exposed or experience symptoms, make sure to reach out to a health care provider and avoid having sexual contact until your health has been evaluated.
  • Reduce or avoid activities that may increase your exposure to monkeypox, especially when traveling to a region, state, or country where monkeypox is present.
  • Know that the disease is contagious from the onset of symptoms or rash until the scabs of the rash have dried up and fallen off and the skin is healing well underneath.
  • It may take 21 days from exposure until one develops signs of the infection.
  • Refer to the CDC’s guide to Safer Sex and Social Gatherings.

If you are concerned about your risk or that you may be experiencing symptoms, your health care provider can perform a risk-assessment and identify the appropriate steps to take, including testing. Testing includes swabbing a lesion and submitting to a laboratory for analysis. Healthcare providers, including sexual health clinics and urgent care centers, can perform and order this test. Individuals must isolate while awaiting their test results.

TCHD continues to urge local healthcare providers who suspect monkeypox to call TCHD at 607-274-6604 to speak with a communicable disease nurse for additional guidance.

Treatments are available for those who meet criteria and are infected with monkeypox, including antiviral medication. Anyone who does not currently have a healthcare provider or who is uninsured and seeking a local provider should dial 2-1-1 (1-877-211-8667).

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com