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Over 100 vaccinated in Richmond-Henrico Health District so far for Monkeypox


RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – As the number of monkeypox cases continues to grow around Virginia, the Richmond-Henrico Health District (RHHD) said in almost a week, its vaccine supply has gone down to just a little over 200.

“As of this afternoon, we’ve vaccinated over 100 people here in the Richmond Henrico Health District (RHHD),” Dr. Elaine Perry, director of RHHD, said.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, there have been 75 total cases of monkeypox in the Commonwealth, two of which are in Central Virginia.

Dr. Perry says right now, they’re continuing to vaccinate those who are at the highest risk, like people immunocompromised, anyone who knows they have the virus, and anyone who meets other specific risk criteria.

“If they are in an establishment where sex is taking place if they are having multiple partners, people who have anonymous partners,” Dr. Perry said. “In general, those are higher risk situations.”

She said testing for the virus continues to grow through community partners but is not currently done by the health district.

“Now there are at least five commercial labs that are also doing testing,” Dr. Perry said. “So, they’re expanding testing capacity, which really helps in terms of timing.”

Like COVID-19, catching those who may have the virus early can help prevent its spread, but testing can only be done on those showing symptoms, like a rash.

“There is really no evidence that shows just swabbing somebody’s skin where there is no obvious rash is going to provide any information,” Dr. Perry said. “So, it’s really important to test only when somebody has obvious signs of infection.”

The health district said that while it can be traumatic for many as we continue battling the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to remember these are two different viruses that spread in different ways.

“It is something we take very seriously, but you know, again, we are in a different place,” Dr. Perry said. “It is a different disease, and so we have to make sure we are tailoring our responses to this disease in a way that makes the most sense to approach it.”

The health district requests additional doses of the vaccine each week.

Anyone looking to receive a vaccine should click here.

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