Health & Science

Houston hits pause on monkeypox vaccinations amid shortage

Monkeypox vaccine has not been widely available nationwide, and widespread vaccination is not recommended at this time. 

The Houston Health Department announced Thursday it would temporarily pause appointments for monkeypox vaccinations due to the limited supply.

The department will announce the availability of continued vaccination appointments after it receives additional doses.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking for more vaccines. Just earlier this week they announced that the Greater Houston area had received more than 5,000 doses.

Monkeypox vaccine has not been widely available nationwide, and health officials have not recommended widespread vaccination.

The city said that it is prioritizing vaccinations for people who are confirmed to have had high-risk contact with someone with monkeypox, attended an event where there was a risk of exposure to monkeypox, people who were diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases, or people who have had sex with multiple partners or anonymous partners. Monkeypox itself is not a sexually transmitted disease.

The city also urged people who suspect that they have monkeypox symptoms — new, unexplained rashes or sores — to contact a doctor and set up a screening appointment.

The city maintains that threat of monkeypox to Houston's general population remains low. Symptoms include a rash or sores that can look like pimples or blisters, fever, headache, weakness, chills and swollen lymph nodes.

Houston currently has 58 confirmed cases, Turner said.

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