No appointments needed for monkeypox vaccine at Menomonee Valley Drive-Thru Clinic in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58)-- The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) is making it easier to get the monkeypox vaccine.
Those who are eligible no longer need an appointment. They can just drive through the Menomonee Valley clinic to get a shot.
There are still eligibility requirements. Due to limited availability, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is exclusively offering the monkeypox vaccine to people who have a confirmed exposure or people with certain risk factors, making them more likely to contract the virus.
According to DHS, those risk factors include:
- People who know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox.
- People who attended an event or venue where there was known monkeypox exposure.
- Gay men, bisexual men, trans men and women, any men who have sex with men, and gender non-conforming/non-binary individuals who have had multiple sexual partners in the last 14 days.
Doctors said anyone who meets the requirements should get vaccinated.
"We have an opportunity, actually, to sort of prevent this from becoming a long-term issue," Dr. Dan Shirley, medical director for infection prevention at UW Health, said.
Although monkeypox is a new concern in the United States, there's a history of protection from it thanks to a similar virus -- smallpox.
Shirley said there's reason to believe adults who got the smallpox vaccine before routine vaccination ended in 1972 may have some protection against monkeypox. The vaccine at the time had poor side effects.
He said a new, easier to tolerate vaccine was developed over the past several years in case smallpox became an issue again.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the new smallpox vaccine also protects against monkeypox.
"It's fortunate that they had kind of developed this and done these trials to see that it worked and was effective," Shirley said.
The CDC said the sooner an exposed person gets the vaccine, the better.
"Monkeypox is a little different in that it has a long incubation period. So, you have some days after you were exposed where you can get a vaccine and prevent monkeypox in a lot of cases," Shirley said.
If not prevent, the vaccine can lead to a less severe outcome, according to Shirley.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will be providing $11 million to support vaccine production in the United States on Monday.
As supply increases, more groups of people will become eligible to get vaccinated.
"It's a good time to kind of pay attention to monkeypox, pay attention to the symptoms, and get a vaccination if you're eligible," Shirley said.
MHD is administering the vaccine in two doses. When someone gets their first shot, they're provided a date they should aim to return for the second.