Monkeypox vaccine on it’s way to Southeastern North Carolina, what does this mean for residents?

Monkeypox vaccine on it’s way to Southeastern North Carolina, what does this mean for residents?
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Health officials say the monkeypox virus is not as severe or contagious as COVID-19. The most common symptoms to look out for are flu-like symptoms followed by a rash or blisters.

As for post-infection vaccines, just seven counties will share the first shipment of 444 doses in North Carolina. They were determined by a number of reasons-- including location, population, and also having a pandemic operations team.

If anyone in a nearby county is exposed to or contracts monkeypox, they will be able to come to New Hanover County to get that vaccine.

“We’re not seeing cases of ‘oh, I just walked through the grocery store and developed a case of monkey pox.’ It really is the sustained physical contact, which seems to be the highest risk factor for developing monkey pox. So that’s where we do not want the community become inappropriately alarmed that ‘Oh, I can’t go outside for fear of catching monkey pox,’” Campbell said. “And certainly surrounding transmission, it’s important to note that anyone can develop monkey pox, it doesn’t discern a specific demographic.”

While only a few dozen of the vaccines will come to Wilmington, Campbell said he expects the vaccine to be more widely available in the near future.

“This is a vaccine that is given to individuals who have a known or suspected exposure to monkey pox, there’s certain criteria that we’re able to review one on one with individuals,” Campbell said. “The best way for them to reach out to find out if they’re eligible for that vaccine would be to call the pandemic operations center. Over the next couple of weeks, we do expect that there’s going to be increasing availability of vaccine. So I do encourage folks, please don’t get frustrated by the limited supply. We are doing our best to work with everybody in our community to ensure our community has the resources they need,” Campbell said.

He says if you think you have monkeypox or might have been exposed, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

“I would certainly encourage folks to reach out to their primary care medical provider to determine if this could be monkey pox or possibly some other type of infection. Anyone can become infected with monkey pox, we historically have seen a flu-like illness with maybe a fever, body aches, but it’s important to note with the current outbreak of monkey pox, that that may not be very prominent.”

If you have any questions about monkeypox, or to see if you are eligible for the vaccine, you can call the New Hanover County Pandemic Operations Center at 910-798-6800.

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