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News Release
OHA encourages mpox vaccination as state marks Pride Month in June - 05/24/23

May 24, 2023

Media Contact: Jonathan Modie, 971-246-9139, PHD.Communications@oha.oregon.gov

OHA encourages mpox vaccination as state marks Pride Month in June

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon public health officials want to raise awareness that getting vaccinated with both doses of the mpox vaccine is the best way for people to protect themselves and their community, especially in advance of Pride and related summer gatherings and travel.

Tim Menza, M.D., Ph.D., senior health adviser for Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) mpox response, said that while the number of mpox cases in the state has decreased dramatically since last summer, the outbreak that began in June 2022 is not over.

“There are reports of increases in cases in the United States (Chicago) and across the globe, including in France and South Korea,” Menza said.

Oregon still sees one to three mpox cases reported per month, although that’s a significant drop from the 10 to 15 cases reported per week when the outbreak peaked in early August 2022. The state’s total count of mpox cases now stands at 280 in 12 counties since the start of the outbreak, including 278 adult cases and two pediatric cases. There have been no deaths.

That the mpox outbreak is not yet over is a sentiment shared recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On May 15, the agency issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory, warning health care and public health partners of ongoing mpox community transmission in the United States and internationally. The HAN informs clinicians and public health agencies about the potential for new clusters or outbreaks of mpox cases, and provides resources on clinical evaluation, treatment, vaccination and testing.

“We have the tools to prevent a resurgence in Oregon, including testing, vaccination, treatment, strong community partnerships and data to guide our response,” Menza emphasized. “As we gather and travel for Pride celebrations in Oregon and around the country next month, we can use these tools now to help us avoid repeating the outbreak of 2022.”

The JYNNEOS mpox vaccine is free and readily available to anyone in Oregon who wants to be vaccinated. As of May 15, 20,972 doses of JYNNEOS have been administered in Oregon, including 13,084 first doses and 7,703 second doses. Menza believes there are many more people who could benefit from vaccination who have not yet received their first dose and that there are about 5,381 people who remain eligible for a second dose but have not yet received it.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is highly effective. According to a study published Friday (May 19) in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the vaccine was found to be 75% effective for those receiving one dose and 86% effective for those who had two doses.

“People with two doses of the vaccine can feel confident in their protection, but breakthrough cases are possible, so if you've been vaccinated and notice a new spot or rash, talk to your health care provider,” Menza explained. “We are still learning how long vaccination protection lasts, but we know that vaccines make getting and spreading mpox less likely, and help make symptoms less severe.”

Mpox spreads primarily through close, skin-to-skin contact. Most often, it has occurred through intimate or sexual contact, and during contact with the lesions of an individual with mpox through a caregiving relationship, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caretaker of another person.

Infection rates are highest among people living in Multnomah County, those ages 30 to 39, and members of the Latino and Black/African American communities. Most cases were men who reported having sex with men, and most identified as gay or bisexual men.

People who suspect they have mpox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. The provider may recommend testing for mpox. Those who don’t have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 or their local public health authority for help finding a clinic or health care provider.

For more information about mpox in Oregon, visit OHA’s mpox website. Vaccination clinics can also be searched by ZIP code with an mpox vaccine locator tool at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Monkeypox/Pages/vaccine.aspx or at https://mpoxvaxmap.org/.

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