Starting Nov. 1, the Erie County Department of Health is offering free and confidential monkeypox vaccines to eligible Erie County residents at their homes or any location in Erie County through its “Vax Visit” program. This is part of ECDOH’s monkeypox vaccine outreach campaign, which began in July in coordination with Evergreen Health, MOCHA Buffalo, the Pride Center of WNY, Upstate NY Black and Latino Pride, and GLYS WNY.
“Our department held a series of monkeypox vaccine clinics this summer and fall, including on college campuses, to provide access to everyone who was eligible and willing to be vaccinated,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “This at-home service is an extension of that effort, designed to reach eligible people who may not be comfortable coming into a clinic setting.”
Residents are asked to call 716-858-2929, select option 2, and provide their name and phone number. They will receive a call back to schedule an appointment at their home or another Erie County location. First and second monkeypox vaccine doses are available through this program.
ECDOH also offers monkeypox vaccines weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jesse Nash Health Center at 608 William St., Buffalo. No appointments are needed.
The department said current eligibility criteria before exposure to monkeypox include:
•Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, transgender or nonbinary people who in the past six months have had:
√ A new diagnosis of one or more nationally reportable sexually transmitted diseases (i.e., acute HIV, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis)
√ More than one sex partner
•People who have had any of the following in the past six months:
√ Sex at a commercial sex venue
√ Sex in association with a large public event in a geographic area where monkeypox transmission is occurring
•Sexual partners of people with the above risks
•People who anticipate experiencing the above risks
•People in certain occupational exposure risk groups
Individuals with recent exposure to a suspected or confirmed monkeypox case within the past 14 days should call the ECDOH epidemiology office at 716-858-7697 for guidance on accessing a monkeypox vaccine.
The department said, “People who get vaccinated should continue to take steps to protect themselves from infection by avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who has monkeypox.”
Erie County Department of Health, monkeypox: www.erie.gov/monkeypox