NORFOLK, Va. — Two major vaccines are now available at Military Circle Mall. The site offers the latest COVID booster and monkeypox vaccine.
We spoke with a doctor to see who is eligible.
Since May, the Virginia Department of Health says 409 cases of monkeypox have been reported across the Commonwealth.
“It’s one of those things that was trying to keep track and make sure we didn’t spread it too far,” said Ryan Light, a Chesapeake family physician.
Since Monday, the VDH has started distributing the two-dose monkeypox vaccine. The CDC recommends the vaccine for people of any sexual orientation or gender who have had multiple sexual partners because they are considered high risk, according to health officials.
But according to Dr. Light, the number of monkeypox cases in Virginia compared to other parts of the country remains low.
“I don’t think there are a lot of doctors seeing it. We are aware it’s out there and we have heightened suspicion for it. So if we see anything that looks like it, we’re going to immediately report to the Virginia Department of Health,” Light said.
When looking at statewide age groups, the highest number of monkeypox cases are in people between the ages of 30 and 39, at 40%. It is closely followed by people aged 20 to 29 at 36%. According to VDH, 96% of monkeypox cases in Virginia are male.
Doctor Light also addressed questions about how monkeypox can be spread.
“If you’re in intimate contact, you can get it. If you actually come into contact with the actual open lesion, skin-to-skin contact, without any intimate contact, you can still get it that way,” said Light.
Meanwhile, doctors say if you have symptoms, including rashes and flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor or health department.
“Just knowing who you have intimate contact with and knowing where they’ve been before you is probably the most important thing,” Light told News 3.
At the vaccination clinic, we saw many people queuing up to get vaccinated. We asked a few why they decided to go out and get their fix, but they wouldn’t talk to us, due to the stigma surrounding monkeypox.
“It’s still a rare condition right now, but that’s good news,” Light said.
VDH leaders say they are lucky the tests, vaccines and treatments are available. Clinics will run from 3-6 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, and require an appointment.