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Gala Pride & Diversity Center in SLO hosting Monkeypox vaccine clinic 

vaccine clinic monkeypoxOne case of Monkeypox has been confirmed in SLO County

– The Gala Pride & Diversity Center and the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department will host a Monkeypox (MPX) vaccination clinic on Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at 1060 Palm Street in San Luis Obispo. It is part of a community-wide approach to MPX prevention that includes outreach tailored to those who are currently at the highest risk of exposure.

“We’re proud to partner with Public Health to help protect our community from MPX,” said Gala Executive Director Dusty Colyer-Worth. “Right now in California, gay and bisexual men are most at risk from this virus. We want our LGBTQ+ community to know: there are steps you can take to protect yourself, and the vaccine is an important part of that. I hope everyone who wants to get vaccinated will come out to this event to get protected, get information, and enjoy some food and camaraderie. We will get through this outbreak together.”

MPX often causes flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, and swollen lymph nodes) followed by a rash or sores. It spreads primarily through close, often skin-to-skin contact with people who have symptoms or, less commonly, with unwashed materials used by someone with symptoms. It does not spread easily through the air or through brief contact like walking by someone on the street. Since May 2022, there has been an uptick in cases in parts of the world where MPX does not usually occur, including here in California. One case of MPX has been confirmed in SLO County.

Vaccine supply is extremely limited nationwide but is gradually increasing. At this event, approximately 150 doses will be available and will be given in the skin (similar to a TB test). Current eligibility criteria include SLO County residents age 18+ who:

• Identify as gay, bisexual, and other men or trans people who have sex with men, or
• Identify as sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender identity, including those who engage in transactional or survival sex, or
• Have had close contact with someone diagnosed with MPX

Additional vaccine clinics are being planned, including one in North County.

“The goal is for everyone who wants a vaccine to be able to get vaccine,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein.

“We’re grateful to Gala and all our community partners for working with us to help ensure that community members who are currently most at risk have access to vaccine and to practical information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from MPX.”

Until vaccine access expands, you can take steps to protect yourself:

• Talk with close contacts, including sexual partners, about any recent illness, and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body.
• Postpone close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact with people who have MPX symptoms like rashes or sores until sores have fully healed and a new layer of skin has formed.
• Avoid contact with unwashed items or fabrics (bedding, towels, clothing) used by someone who has MPX symptoms like rashes or sores.
• Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
• If you are caring for someone who has MPX and is experiencing symptoms, use personal protective equipment like a mask, gown, eye protection, and gloves.
• If you have an unusual rash, with or without flu-like symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider for an evaluation. If you do not have a healthcare provider, contact the Public Health Department’s Healthcare Navigators.

The Public Health Department’s MPX outreach efforts are informed by the SLO County MPX Advisory Group, which includes representatives from Access Support Network, Cal Poly Campus Health & Wellbeing, CAPSLO Center for Health & Prevention, Gala Pride & Diversity Center, and Planned Parenthood California Central Coast.

For more information about MPX in SLO County, including an option to sign up for email updates, visit Public Health phone support is available at (805) 781-5500 Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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