DENVER — Alex Buck first starting looking for a monkeypox vaccine weeks ago.
“I’ve been trying to get one for a while,” he said.
“I remember back in early July, there were [very few] in Colorado and a friend mentioned they got one, I looked into it and it was still too late.”
He kept searching, and finally secured an appointment this week.
“I've been kind of Googling it every few days, like, Do we have more? Can I get more? And I just kind of stumbled onto the Jefferson County Public Health website and they had a phone number you can call to say ‘Call us for monkeypox vax appointments.’ I called, they asked a few questions, and got me in today. So it worked out really well.”
Buck said the shot was pretty easy, especially compared to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“No symptoms yet, I’m waiting with bated breath,” he said.
“It was a small needle, in the underarm, it was actually really quick and painless, which I was very grateful for.”
Monkeypox can affect anyone.
During this current outbreak, most cases have been among men who have sex with men. That population, or anyone who is a close contact to a positive case, are the only ones eligible for the very limited vaccine supply.
Alex shared a photo of himself after his vaccine on social media, hoping to encourage other members of his LGBTQ community to consider getting vaccinated, too.
“I felt like I needed to get it because I am in the pool that is eligible, and I want to make sure I can live my life without a.) being worried about it and b.) knowing that I’m safe from it, and any partners I have are safe from it,” he said.
“I felt that responsibility for it, that I'm being responsible for my health and others.”
On Thursday, the Biden Administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency in the United States. Cases have topped 6,600 nationwide. Colorado reports a total of 79 cases.
In an email Thursday, state leaders said Colorado had already received 9,665 doses from the federal government. Those doses represent vaccines already administered, scheduled to be administered, or in the process of redistribution to other providers.
The state placed its latest order with the feds for another 5,080 doses on Aug. 1.
After 2 years of COVID, many are confused – and frustrated – by a federal response they feel is too slow on monkeypox.
“For me and a lot of my friends, we’re tired,” Buck said with a brief laugh. “It’s hard to have to deal with COVID, that’s around, it hasn’t gone anywhere. There’s just so many layers to it. With COVID I was really excited about the vaccine… I’m happy to get the monkeypox vaccine but I’m a lot more like, sigh. More drama.”
For others who may be eligible for the vaccine and considering it, Buck offers this:
“Keep an eye out on good information. You do have to do some of your own research, at least that I found. But it's worth it, it was really easy. Anything we can do to keep people safe and keep ourselves healthy is worth it in my opinion.”
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