DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - As the number of cases of monkeypox in metro Atlanta continue to rise, DeKalb County health officials are offering another limited chance for eligible residents to get vaccinated.
The DeKalb County Board of Health says it has received additional monkeypox vaccine and will hold a large vaccination event on Friday.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North DeKalb Health Center, which is located at 3807 Clairmont Road in Chamblee.
There are 240 appointments available. Due to the limited amount of vaccines, appointments will be required and walk-ins will not be accepted.
Registration will be available on the DeKalb County Board of Health's website Thursday morning.
Eligible residents must fit one of three criteria to get the vaccine:
- People who are close personal contacts of people with monkeypox,
- Individuals who may have been exposed to monkeypox,
- Gay and bisexual men who have sex with men who have more than two partners in the past 14 days.
The county held its first monkeypox vaccination clinic last week. At that time, it took just four minutes for the 200 slots to fill up.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Georgia now has over 500 confirmed cases of the virus. The Peach State has the sixth-highest number of cases in the country, trailing only New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Florida.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox, and how is it spread?
Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.
The disease is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals. It does not usually spread easily among people.
In June, cases began emerging in Europe and the United States. Many — but not all — of those who contracted the virus had traveled internationally. Most were men who have sex with men, but health officials stress that anyone can get monkeypox.
The disease can be spread through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact including direct contact with rashes or sores, contact with objects or fabric that have been used by someone with monkeypox, or respiratory droplets or oral fluids.
There have been no U.S. deaths and officials say the risk to the American public is low. But they are taking steps to assure people that medical measures are in place to deal with the growing problem.
A two-dose vaccine, Jynneos, is approved for monkeypox in the U.S. The government has many more doses of an older smallpox vaccine — ACAM2000 — that they say could also be used, but that vaccine is considered to have a greater risk of side effects and is not recommended for people who have HIV. So it’s the Jynneos vaccine that officials have been trying to use as a primary weapon against the monkeypox outbreak.
Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if you do not believe you have had contact with anyone who has contracted the virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.