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Monkeypox is a health emergency. We’re advocating for more vaccine and resources in Pierce County.

UPDATED: 08/18/2022

Late last month, the World Health Organization named monkeypox virus (MPV) a global health emergency

This global outbreak has already affected our community. As of Aug. 10, Pierce County has 13 probable or confirmed cases of the viral disease. We’ll likely see more local cases of MPV in the coming months. 

We have learned from COVID-19 about the importance of proactive interventions, including testing and vaccines for communities most at risk.

We must also recognize the potential harms from stigma or lack of action. Certain groups are more at risk. Those who have close contact with a person with the virus can get the disease. All of us can play a role in protecting our community and advocating for those most at risk to address this health emergency. 

Who is at risk?

MPV spreads during close, physical contact. Anyone who has close contact with a person who has the virus is at risk. Men who have sex with men may be at higher risk because the virus is currently spreading in their community. 

Unlike COVID-19, MPV isn’t easily transmitted through the air. The disease spreads through prolonged personal contact or direct contact with objects or surfaces a person with the disease used. 

If you think you have MPV, you should get tested by your healthcare provider. 

What is MPV? 

MPV causes a rash that looks like bumps, blisters or ulcers. Before the rash, some people have flu-like symptoms like: 

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches and backache.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Chills.
  • Exhaustion. 

The push for more vaccines. 

Demand for MPV vaccine is high and the supply from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remains limited.

We’re offering an MPV vaccine event on Monday, Aug. 15, 12-6 p.m. in Lakewood. Reserve your spot. We’re limiting registration to those in high-risk groups who qualify. See if you qualify via the registration or on our website.

We are also supporting pharmacies, healthcare providers, and community partners who routinely provide care to people at high risk of exposure to get vaccine to those who need it most.

This approach aims to help slow the spread of the disease, especially for people who may have been exposed but may not have symptoms yet. We continue to advocate for more vaccine and expect to get more soon.

Our Board of Health Chair Derek Young and Vice Chair Catherine Ushka sent a letter to our local congressional delegation advocating for more testing and vaccine. They wrote:

“As Chair and Vice-Chair of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, we urge you to urgently work with the Biden Administration, Federal agencies, and state and local governments and health departments to create and implement proactive testing, vaccination and public awareness campaigns for the rapidly evolving monkeypox virus (MPV) outbreak.

“Our local communities need the testing tools, vaccine and consistent guidance from the CDC with more urgency to do this important work. Our state and local governments and health departments stand ready to help.”

Once we get more vaccine, we will expand eligibility and access to the vaccine. We are also working to identify more testing options for people who don’t have a healthcare provider or insurance. 

Learn more on our MPV webpage and find facts, data and frequently asked questions about the disease. And review other resources:

Everyone at risk for MPV should be protected. We are working with community partners, healthcare providers, and state and federal leadership to help protect Pierce County residents. 

Needle, swab and bandaid on a table.

UPDATED: 08/18/2022
UPDATED: 08/11/2022