MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava held a news conference on monkeypox vaccination efforts at a vaccination site in Miami Beach Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s real, it’s serious, and it’s here,” Levine Cava said.
The mayor was joined by local doctors as well as other county and municipal officials.
“Listen up, be careful, arm yourself with knowledge and, if necessary, give us your arms for a vaccine,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
According to a release from the mayor’s office, Miami-Dade has received a limited supply of monkeypox vaccines.
Starting Wednesday at 8 a.m. high-risk residents can make a vaccine appointment at the county’s website or by calling 1-833-875-0900.
The appointments will be available beginning at two sites, one at 224 23rd St. in Miami Beach and one at Tropical Park in southwest Miami-Dade. The county said it is working to open additional sites as more vaccines become available.
The high-risk groups include:
- Laboratory personnel and select health care personnel at high risk for monkeypox
- Close contacts of monkeypox cases
- Immunocompromised MSM (men who have sex with men) with HIV (<200 CD4 white blood celld per ml³)
- Other MSM with a recent history of a sexually transmissible diseases (STD)
- All other MSM with HIV who had potential exposure
County officials said they intend to offer the standard two doses of the vaccine, spaced 28 days apart, despite a Florida Department of Health declaration Tuesday that only first doses would be administered until more vaccines become available.
The effort to ramp up vaccinations is coming just ahead of the school year.
“I do expect to see children with infections,” Dr. Marcelo Laufer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, said.
He’s encouraging parents of children who have a new rash or skin lesion to consult with their primary care providers. However, he thinks monkeypox will be limited in schools, because it requires skin-to-skin contact.
Still, Laufer says children are at risk for more severe disease.
According to the Associated Press, monkeypox is not another pandemic. The disease does not transmit as quickly as COVID-19 “and stopping it will not require dramatic interventions like the COVID-19 lockdowns.”