AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health (APH) is making a new effort to get more people vaccinated against monkeypox.

“At least 27 women are positive in the state, and we are seeing the spread within more people who weren’t sexually involved with another positive case and was spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or face-to-face spread through infected respiratory secretions,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, the Austin-Travis County health authority, in a Thursday release. “The virus is finding a way, but the vaccine is the way out.” 

APH said it has gotten just over 5,000 vials of the JYNNEOS vaccines so far. It gave 2,544 vials to community partners including CommUnityCare, the Kind Clinic and Vivent Health

APH has a survey (Spanish version) to see if you are eligible for the vaccine based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.

APH said its epidemiology, equity line and nursing staff have responded to several thousand monkeypox-related calls in the last couple of months and will continue to provide information as well as schedule vaccine appointments for those without internet access. 

According to APH, all those who were confirmed contacts of a positive case were contacted to schedule a vaccine.

Additionally, more than 1,600 people who were on a waitlist have been contacted this week to schedule their appointment. 

This expanded eligibility criteria comes just after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced an emergency use authorization for the Jynneos vaccine to allow health care providers to administer the vaccine by shallow injection under the skin instead of injection into the muscle tissue.

Each vial may now provide three to five doses. 

APH said you can protect yourself by: 

  • Being fully clothed and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with strangers.  
  • Limiting close and/or intimate contact to people you know. Close contact includes sharing items like drinks and blankets.  
  • Wearing well-fitting masks in close quarters when social distancing isn’t possible to reduce direct exchange of mouth/nasal fluids.  
  • Washing/sanitizing your hands as well as cleaning surfaces.
  • Staying home if you feel sick or experience any symptoms