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Salt Lake County Health Department pausing monkeypox vaccine appointments

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 23:33:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Health Department is pausing scheduling new monkeypox vaccine appointments, as all the county’s vaccine doses have now been taken.

“We will get more," said Nicholas Rupp, spokesman for the Health Department. "It will be available, and we will be able to protect everyone who needs that protection.”

The Salt Lake County Health Department has been one of the only places in Utah here you can get a monkeypox vaccine.

“I'm not aware of any other counties offering [the] monkey pox vaccine," said Rupp. "We're offering vaccines to people throughout the Wasatch, front and back.”

Since May, 27 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in Utah, according to data from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. The highest amount of cases recorded by far have been in Salt Lake County, where the Health Department has vaccinated approximately 900 people.

UDH data

“It's a great thing, with so many eligible people wanting to get vaccinated," said Rupp. "We are happy to get the vaccine out quickly so we can protect the community particularly the community at highest risk.”

Right now, only a select group of people are at risk, and eligible for monkeypox vaccines: those who have had close contact with someone who has monkeypox, or men who have sex with men who have had multiple partners in recent weeks.

“Monkeypox is not spread through casual, informal contact," said Rupp. "You can't catch monkeypox from someone you pass in the grocery store who's not wearing a mask. Monkeypox requires some pretty significant contact is primarily transmitted through skin to skin contact.”

Rupp wants to remind people that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, and it’s not exclusively affecting the gay community. While it is a serious illness, the monkeypox strain going around the U.S. is not deadly, he said.

“Monkeypox is a painful disease," said Rupp. "It can be debilitating. It is a serious illness, but it is not something that the general public needs to worry about at this time.”

The Salt Lake County Health Department is expecting to receive a shipment of vaccines in the coming weeks, and they will announce when doses are available and people can make appointments again.