Connecticut launching 15 monkeypox clinics as cases rise
Connecticut will launch more than a dozen monkeypox vaccine clinics next week, state health officials announced Thursday. It comes as Connecticut has reached 28 cases.
Since monkeypox has mainly spread among gay and bisexual men so far, that group will get the vaccine first.
"Our goal is to try to get as many people that could be high-risk for this disease to be covered by this vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health.
Up until now, DPH says only a handful of people identified as close contacts have received a monkeypox shot. Starting Monday, 15 clinics across the state will offer immunizations and testing. But you can't just walk-in.
"You must receive a referral from DPH or you can call our main number and you will be triaged and screened,” said Kim Beauregard, the CEO of InterCommunity Health Care in Hartford.
InterCommunity is one of the clinics that will offer monkeypox immunizations. The state plans to announce the others by Monday morning.
So far, Connecticut is getting 1,778 doses -- well-short of the 80,000 headed to New York City. But remember, our state only has 2.3% of their cases.
Still, the federal government is facing pressure to send more doses. This week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accusing the government of shortchanging New York City's neighbors, noting that "public health has no borders."
But until Connecticut gets a bigger supply, only people who've had a direct exposure qualify.
"The most telltale symptom is the monkeypox rash,” said InterCommunity COO Tyler Booth. “If you are unsure if that's what you have, you can feel free to contact any health care provider."
The state is also ramping up contact tracing, but Gov. Ned Lamont said this is not like COVID two years ago.
"There's a little sense of déjà vu,” he said. "When New York City sneezes, Connecticut catches a cold. ‘Oh my God, here we go again.’ But they're also very different."
You can call 211 to see if you qualify for a vaccine.