The City of West Hollywood is continuing to get the word out that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are tracking cases of monkeypox in the region and are working to respond. Early data suggests that gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) comprise a high number of cases of monkeypox virus. Anyone, however, in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.
As of today, there are approximately 132 probable and confirmed cases in Los Angeles County.
LA County Public Health has expanded the eligibility criteria for Los Angeles County residents to receive the monkeypox vaccine. There remains a limited supply of monkeypox vaccines at this time.
Public Health has expanded eligibility to two groups:
By invitation only to:
- Persons confirmed by Public Health to have high- or intermediate-risk contact with a confirmed monkeypox case;
- Persons who attended an event or venue where there was high risk of exposure to an individual(s) with confirmed monkeypox virus through skin-to-skin or sexual contact. Public Health will work with event/venue organizers to identify persons who may have been present and at risk of exposure while at the venue.
If Group A applies to you, Public Health will communicate directly with persons who have had these exposures and provide details on how and where to access the JYNNEOS vaccine.
Gay or bisexual men and transgender persons who:
● Were diagnosed with gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past 12 months (previously limited to within three months and specific to rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis); or
● Are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); or
● Attended or worked at a commercial sex venue or other venue where they had anonymous sex or sex with multiple partners (e.g., saunas, bathhouses, sex clubs, sex party) within past 21 days.
Community members who fall under the updated Public Health eligibility requirements can get vaccinated several ways:
- Contacting their doctor or healthcare provider to find out if they are a monkeypox vaccine provider. If they are a vaccine provider, eligible residents can request an appointment with their provider to get vaccinated. Providers that are registered to administered vaccine may also reach out to patients who are thought to be eligible to invite them to get vaccinated.
- Visiting a Public Monkeypox vaccine location with their ID and provide one of the following:
- Proof of gonorrhea or early syphilis infection in the last 12 months in the form of a lab report (the proof can be shown from your phone, including a screenshot of the result or within a patient portal; or
- A monkeypox provider attestation form completed by your doctor; or
- Being invited to get vaccinated after receiving a text message with their name from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Residents who meet any of the eligibility criteria can fill out a sign-up form by visiting ph.lacounty.gov/monkeypoxsignup and providing their name, date of birth, and eligibility information to get on a list to receive vaccine if they meet the eligibility criteria and vaccine is available.
Residents can also indicate locations that are most convenient for them to get vaccinated. Learn more by visiting the LA County Health website: https://ph.lacounty.gov/media/Monkeypox. People without access to internet or needing help with registration, can call 2-1-1 for assistance.
Currently, the JYNNEOS vaccine supply remains limited in the United States and Public Health is working to expand eligibility as additional doses are available; the federal government anticipates distributing additional doses in the coming weeks.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection first identified in 1958. In most countries, cases are rarely seen in people who have not traveled to Central or West Africa, where the virus is endemic (regularly found). Since May 2022, there has been an uptick in cases among people who have not visited Africa, including in Europe and North America, as well as specifically in California.
While the risk of contracting monkeypox is currently very low in the general population, the City of West Hollywood is disseminating information from the CDC and from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) so that community members can be informed about what do to if signs of monkeypox appear.
Monkeypox is spread by close physical contact (including sexual contact) with someone who has symptoms or by touching contaminated items, such as clothing and bedding. It can cause flu-like symptoms and/or a distinct rash that can be bumpy or fluid-filled on the face, body, genitals, arms, and/or legs. According to Public Health, signs of infection may include: fever and headaches; swollen lymph nodes; muscle aches; and rash, bumps, or blisters, which may be limited to one part of the body.
The CDC and Public Health officials urge anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox to isolate from others and to speak with their healthcare provider, even if they do not think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. People who may be at higher risk may generally include, but are not limited to, those who:
- Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox;
- Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, including men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party); and/or
- Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing.
The City of West Hollywood is in close contact with contracted provider organizations such as the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Saban Community Clinic, and Men’s Health Foundation. Once a larger allocation of vaccines is more broadly available, the City will continue to share updated information about vaccines and will provide details about providers offering vaccinations. At this time, the most up-to-date information can be provided by a primary care provider or by visiting the Public Health website at http://ph.lacounty.gov/media/monkeypox/.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has an informational FAQ on its website. The CDPH website also features an information sheet (in English and in nine other languages) created by and for gay men, bisexual men, and men and/or transgender people who have sex with men. LA County Public Health has, additionally, prepared a variety of health education resources, including flyers and handouts, such as: Pamphlet; Flyer; Signage; Pocketcard; and Intimate Contact Handout.