On July 22, officials with Houston Health Department announced they received 5,024 doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccines.
According to the July 22 press release, the doses were allocated by the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of State Health Services. A total of 1,508 doses will be given to Harris County Public Health, while 3,516 doses will be retained by the city.
The vaccination is a two-dose series with each dose administered four weeks apart. The HHD will be able to give 1,758 people vaccines with the supply, the release said.
“Our department has for weeks strongly advocated for an increase in the supply of monkeypox doses dedicated to the Houston area,” HHD Director Stephen Williams said in a statement. “The shipment represents a significant step forward in protecting people at [the] highest risk for this disease in our community.”
People who are considered high-risk for contracting the virus, such as those who have intimate, close contact with someone who has the virus will be prioritized for the vaccines, the release said.
According to the release, the HHD plans to distribute vaccines to partnering providers who will then administer the vaccines to “referred clients who meet the criteria in the interim.” A joint press conference between Harris County and Houston is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. July 25, during which more information is expected to be released.
As of July 22, the monkeypox case count in Houston was 36 with none of the cases requiring hospitalizations, the release said. Currently, widespread vaccination is not recommended. The HHD has worked to identify cases, perform case investigations and contact tracing to identify contacts, officials said.
"While the threat of monkeypox to Houston's general population remains low, we welcome this vaccine shipment and look forward to receiving more as long as there is a need in the community," Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.
Over the past few weeks, the HHD has sponsored a town hall on the virus, distributed educational materials at the Houston Pride Parade and Festival, and provided education and support to local Federally Qualified Health Centers.
"I have asked our health department to remain vigilant in its work to educate and advocate on behalf of individuals considered most at risk,” Turner said.
According to the release, monkeypox spreads through close contact with the infectious rash, scabs, bodily fluids or clothing and linen that has previously touched an infected area on a person. Symptoms can last for two to four weeks and include a rash or sores that resemble pimples or blisters, fever, headaches, weakness, chills and swollen lymph nodes.