The Kansas City Health Department is responding to residents who may need the monkeypox (MPV) vaccine by establishing a survey to allow individuals to identify their risk level.
The department is also taking steps to increase its MPV vaccine supply to better protect high-risk individuals.
Direct exposure to someone with the virus has been the only way Missouri residents can receive the vaccine. Currently, because supply is limited, local health departments and physicians in Missouri must receive case-by-case approval from the state before vaccinating individuals.
That will soon change. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has approved a portion of Kansas City’s northwest region supply for up to 1,125 people who may not know for certain they have been exposed to the virus, but who have been in high-risk areas or conditions.
“We feel the urgency that many of you are feeling. We want to give the Jynneos vaccine to people who have been exposed and anyone in high-risk groups,” said Marvia Jones, health director. “We have been working with the state and our CDC partners every day on a plan that will lead us to vaccinate more people who meet the high-risk definitions but do not have proof they have been in direct contact with someone with the virus.”
To do this, Kansas City Health and DHSS have created a survey to allow residents to assess their risk level and indicate where they would like to receive their MPV vaccine once they are eligible.
For the Kansas City area and greater northwest area, they may choose these locations:
KCMO Health Department, 2400 Troost Ave.
University Health-Truman, 2301 Holmes St.
KC CARE Health Center, 3515 Broadway Blvd.
Vivent Health, 4309 E. 50th Terr. Suite 200
St Joseph, MO Health Department, 904 S. 10th St.
Once a survey is received, and eligibility is confirmed, the Health Department will set up an appointment. After the initial dose, a second dose will be needed four weeks later.
Kansas City has received 1,800 vials of Jynneos vaccine, which last week amounted to enough vaccine for 900 people. Now, thanks to the approval of a new, preferred method to administer the vaccine, this is enough to vaccinate up to 4,500 people.
The health department also wants to acknowledge the fear that is preventing some people with MPV from seeking treatment.
“We all remember putting our names on waiting lists before the COVID vaccines were approved,” said Tiffany Wilkinson, program director of Communicable Disease Prevention and Public Health Preparedness Division. “We know many gay, bisexual and transgender men and women have told us they are terrified their names will be kept and categorized and someday used to persecute them. We recognize the mistakes of the past and know your fears are justified.”
Although the national stockpile of Jynneos vaccine is limited, completing the screening form will be the fastest way to the vaccine. As a reminder, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is federal law, protects your privacy and prohibits anyone from sharing the protected information with anyone other than the patient and the patient’s designated representatives.
“Remember, the overall risk of being exposed to MPV remains very low,” said Jones. “But for those who know you are at high-risk, please protect yourself while you await the vaccine.”
For more information on how to prevent MPV, please visit kcmo.gov/health.