Long Beach expands monkeypox vaccine clinic operations; eligibility still limited

With cases rising nationally and locally, Long Beach will expand monkeypox vaccine clinic operations, health officials announced today.

Starting today, the city-run monkeypox clinic will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m, according to health officials.

For now, the city-run clinic will operate by appointment only, health officials said. Those wishing to make an appointment should pre-register here or by visiting longbeach.gov/monkeypox. Those given an appointment will be given information on visiting the clinic as well as an eligibility email or text, which they should bring to their appointment.

Because stockpiles of the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is used to prevent monkeypox, are currently limited across the nation, the city imposed strict criteria for those wishing to get vaccinated:

Currently, the vaccine is available in Long Beach for the following people:

  • People who were exposed to someone with confirmed monkeypox and do not have symptoms.
  • People who attended an event/venue where there was high risk of exposure to someone with confirmed monkeypox.
  • Gay or bisexual men and transgender persons who are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  • Gay or bisexual men and transgender persons who attended or worked in saunas, bathhouses, sex clubs, circuit parties, or sex parties where they had anonymous sex or sex with multiple partners.
  • Gay or bisexual men and transgender persons with a diagnosis of gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past 12 months.

While the risk of contracting monkeypox remains low, anyone can get it. Though the rash it often causes can be painful, the disease usually resolves itself in two weeks or so.

As of July 22, there are nine confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox in Long Beach, according to Health and Human Services spokesperson Laath Martin. Health officials announced the first case on July 16.

Most cases being reported locally and nationally have been associated with skin-to-skin contact, according to Long Beach health officials.

Monkeypox is not a sexually-transmitted disease, but the risk of exposure can increase when having any kind of sex or intimate contact, including hugging or kissing, with multiple or anonymous people, according to the city.

“Attending venues or events such as clubs, saunas, bathhouses, sex parties, and circuit parties, where there is skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with many people, can also increase risk, especially if people are wearing less clothing,” Martin said in a July 25 statement.

The Long Beach Health Department will also partner with other local health care providers, including AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), Long Beach Comprehensive Health Center, St. Mary’s CARE Clinic and the LGBTQ Center, to monitor the situation, share information and resources, and provide vaccinations, according to the Health Department.

Anyone who has a painful rash and wishes to get tested for monkeypox should call their health care provider. Those who do not have a health care provider and are experiencing symptoms can contact the Long Beach public health information line at 562-570-7907 for assistance with finding health care services, according to the health officials.

Explainer: Monkeypox has arrived in Long Beach. Who’s at risk and who can get vaccinated?

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Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.