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    Tuesday, August 16, 2022

    Monkeypox vaccination clinics in New London, other communities see strong demand on 1st day

    The response was heavy at the opening of Connecticut’s monkeypox vaccine clinics Monday, according to representatives of the sites designated by the state.

    Manisha Juthani, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said 13 of the 15 sites had opened and were taking appointments. She and others, however, called for more doses of the vaccine to be delivered to the state.

    “It’s been a little bit crazy, a lot of interest,” said Michael DeWolfe, spokesman for Anchor Health in Hamden, which is an LGBTQ-focused health care facility. “We’ve gotten over 200 calls” from people seeking the monkeypox vaccine, he said. The Stamford facility is not giving out vaccines, he said.

    Natalie Bycenski, senior nurse manager and immunization and infection control specialist for the Community Health Center, said the company has six sites offering the vaccine: Clinton, Danbury, Enfield, Middletown, New London and Stamford.

    “We started vaccinating today at all six of those locations,” she said.

    “The response has been pretty positive,” she said. “We’ve been getting calls from the local health departments that are reaching out to us for those patients who have known exposure and are contact traced.” Others have been referred from the state health department, she said.

    “Once we have a known positive case of monkeypox, the health departments and DPH are reaching out to that individual who is a known case” to locate people who may have been exposed in order to give them the Jynneos vaccine.

    People with symptoms or who have had monkeypox are not eligible for the vaccine. Eligible people must be Connecticut residents and 18 or older but do not need to be citizens or to have insurance.

    They must be gay, bisexual, a man who has had sex with men, be someone who is transgender, gender-nonconforming or nonbinary and who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days, Others without symptoms must have had close personal contact with someone who has the disease within 14 days.

    Dr. Suzanne Lagarde, CEO of Fair Haven Community Health Care in New Haven, said, “the demand is strong for sure.”

    Karen Nemiah, Fair Haven spokeswoman, said their four-hour clinics were full for Monday and Tuesday. “We had 16 today and we have another 16 scheduled for tomorrow morning,” she said. The clinic has 60 doses available, she said.

    Fair Haven Community Health Care, like other clinics, is taking people by appointment only. The 15 clinics’ phone numbers and websites are listed on the DPH monkeypox website.

    “It’s hard to know how it’s going to project out. We’re working on our first shipment.” She said that future clinics will depend on how many doses the clinic can get from the state. “Obviously we need to make sure we have our inventory and we are vaccinating people who are coming in, self-identified and making an appointment, as well as people coming in from DPH,” Nemiah said.

    Juthani, who said Monday “is a very important day for us today in the state of Connecticut in our monkeypox response,” said there are 33 cases in the state so far. She, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and others in the health care field, said the state needs more doses of the vaccine. Blumenthal called on the federal government to invoke the Defense Production Act to manufacture more.

    Juthani said the state has received 1,700 doses so far and that the state can order an additional 4,000 doses.

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