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Lake Cumberland District Health Department leaders speak about monkeypox vaccine eligibility

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 10:29:36-04

PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (LEX18 NEWS) — Right now, there are 17 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Bluegrass. Several health departments across the state are now offering monkeypox vaccines.

Laura Woodrum, Lake Cumberland District Health Department's director of Nurses, says, "It's important to have it spread throughout Kentucky and available for the accessibility of those who do need it at this time."

Lake Cumberland District Health Department's Medical Director, Dr. Christine Weyman, says that monkeypox cases are rare -- but she shares that getting people vaccinated is critical to stopping the spread and avoiding an epidemic.

Dr. Weyman says, "The vaccine right now is in limited supply, and it's only for those who have been exposed -- so it's post-exposure prophylaxis or those that are really at high risk."

Health department leaders say they've only gotten a limited amount of doses over the last week but expect more over time.

Monkeypox symptoms include rash and flu-like symptoms.

Now, people who have the highest risk of contracting the virus are getting vaccinated. Being high risk includes having multiple sexual partners over the last 2-weeks and having gone to an event or venue where there was a high risk of monkeypox exposure.

"Now how do you prevent it? Don't get close to somebody that has a rash. Ask if they have a rash," says Dr. Weyman.

People coming to Pulaski County's Health Department for a vaccine are asked to bring a valid ID and complete a questionnaire. Whether you are at high risk of contracting monkeypox or not, these leaders say everyone should be aware of the symptoms and the virus.

"We may all know people who are high risk, and maybe we should all know so we could advise," says Dr. Weyman.

Woodrum says, "It's important that it's widespread so that we can cover the population at risk and hopefully prevent the spread and the disease process."