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Monkeypox vaccination to be offered at weekend Pride events

Monkeypox vaccinations will be available at Pride events this weekend following expansion of eligibility earlier this week by the Southern Nevada Health District.

The health district will offer vaccinations at Friday’s Pride Parade from 4 to 8 p.m. at the district’s mobile clinic at Carson Avenue and Fourth Street.

The Huntridge Family Clinic will offer vaccinations from noon to 7 p.m. at Saturday’s Pride Festival at Craig Ranch Regional Park, 628 W. Craig Road, in North Las Vegas.

Monkeypox, which is characterized by a rash or lesions along with flu-like symptoms, is typically transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact, such as during sex. The once-rare virus has primarily been spreading through the social networks of men who have sex with men. However, anyone can be infected.

On Wednesday, the health district expanded eligibility to include people of any gender or sexual identity who are a sex partner of those at high risk, or who anticipate experiencing any of the identified risks.

Those at high risk include people who have had close physical contact in the last 14 days with someone known to have, or suspected of having, monkeypox, including sex partners and household members.

Also identified as at high risk are gay and bisexual men, and transgender or gender nonconforming individuals, who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 12 months or who have had HIV or a sexually transmitted infection in the last 12 months.

Sex workers and people who have had sex at a commercial sex venue or in association with a large public event also are identified as being at high risk and are eligible.

As of Wednesday, 251 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox had been identified in Clark County since June. Only one new case was identified in the past week, in keeping with a nationwide downturn in identified cases.

Even with the downturn, “We definitely need to stay vigilant and vaccinate as many in the affected population as possible,” said Cassius Lockett, director of disease surveillance and control for the health district.

Nearly 6,600 doses of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine have been administered in the county.

Across the U.S., there have been more than 26,300 monkeypox cases reported and at least two deaths. Although rarely fatal, the disease can be extremely painful and lead to scarring.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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