Update on monkeypox vaccine distribution in King County

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On August 5, King County received our most recent allocation of vaccine. Here’s a brief explainer to answer questions on what’s planned for these doses.

How many vaccine doses has King County received and distributed?

We’ve received a total of 9,160 monkeypox vaccine doses from Washington State Department of Health (including 4,440 that arrived Friday 8/5).

The 4,720 we received prior to 8/5 are already completely distributed.

For the 4,440 doses we received on Friday, we are moving vaccine out to the community, but it will take some time to transfer all the vaccine. We are coordinating with providers to assess how much vaccine they need.

Where will this next allocation of doses go?

With such a scarce supply, we are distributing vaccine using multiple strategies to reach people at highest risk for recent exposure, including reaching people with increased barriers to accessing vaccination.

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. To date, all of the people diagnosed with monkeypox in King County have been among men* who reported close intimate contact with other men, sometimes with anonymous partners. *This includes people who may identify as non-binary, gender queer, or transgender.

About one third of the doses will go to providers who already serve people at high risk based on the epidemiology of current cases. Another third of the doses will go to the Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview. In addition, we are facilitating additional community access points to reach those who reside in other areas of the county as well as individuals who may have less access, particularly on the weekends when our Sexual Health Clinic is closed. We are working with healthcare partners, community-based organizations and businesses that serve the highest risk people in the community to establish these access points.

We are reserving 100 doses for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to treat people who have had high risk exposures. We are also reserving some doses for unexpected needs, for example if there is a setting that may have had broad exposure, such as a shelter.

When are you holding the next vaccine events?

Now that we have doses on-hand, we are planning for more vaccine access points, such as healthcare partners who are able to accept walk-ins, vaccinate on evenings and weekends, and host vaccine events in trusted settings.

Our aim will be to reach:

  • People at high risk who may face barriers to getting care at other providers, particularly men who have sex with men with multiple partners.
  • Communities disproportionately affected in the current outbreak.
  • Areas of the county where current cases are concentrated, while also ensuring availability across King County. To date, the majority of identified cases have resided in central Seattle.
  • People with less access to healthcare: Public Health will prioritize vaccine access for people who have less access to care, including those who are uninsured, undocumented or unhoused.

These events will roll out over the next several weeks. Our partners will lead promotion of these events using targeted outreach to reach people at higher risk.

Is King County advocating for more vaccine given the number of monkeypox cases we have?

Local health departments aren’t able to request doses. Instead, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) uses a formula based on case rates and estimated high risk populations to determine allocations to local health departments.

DOH uses the same formula CDC uses to determine amount of vaccine allocated to each state.  

When are more vaccines on the way?

We have heard that we should expect a next allocation the week of August 15th, with an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 doses that would then be delivered to King County.

Looks like Washington state’s allocation is about 24,000 doses, but requested 12,850 doses. What’s the discrepancy?

Washington State Department of Health leads allocation of doses from CDC to local jurisdictions like ourselves here at Public Health – Seattle & King County.

On the federal website, the data shows “doses allocated” to states, but that does not mean that all vaccines are actually available to be ordered yet. States can only order a portion of doses before the next ordering date.

At the local level, we will receive more doses once CDC opens ordering and distributes doses.

More information

We will continue to provide updates on vaccine allocation on our Public Health Insider blog. You can see our previous updates with additional details on vaccine distribution at our previous blog.

You can check our monkeypox vaccination webpage for eligibility criteria for vaccine. And check our monkeypox webpage for latest case counts and information on symptoms and seeking care.

Originally posted 8/9/2022