Saratoga County taking preventative steps against monkeypox

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Several monkeypox cases have been confirmed in New York state. While there are no known cases in Saratoga County, the health department is being proactive by starting a vaccination clinic to prepare for an increase in tourists this summer.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of New York has the highest number of monkeypox infections in the nation. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family as smallpox. It’s symptoms are similar but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

Signs of the virus include severe illness, rash and sores that look like pimples or blisters, and flu-like symptoms. The state chose Saratoga County for vaccine distribution due to the influx of tourists expected this summer at venues like SPAC and the Saratoga Race Course.

“So, we’re working with the state to get these doses into the arms of the county as soon as possible,” Saratoga County Public Health Commissioner Phil Barrett said.

Barrett told NEWS10 the vaccines will be readily available for those who qualify such as gay and bisexual men who are at a higher risk because one of the many ways the virus is transmitted is during sex. They have been working together with local organizations in the LGBTQ community to get the word out.

“To Saratoga Pride and to try to get his get this information as widely disseminated as possible” Barrett said.

The vaccine, known as JYNNEOS, will be distributed much like the COVID-19 vaccine. There will be two doses scheduled two weeks apart. The vaccine will provide protection from more severe symptoms, and while rare, may also prevent death. The CDC said side effects should be minimal.

“I think there’s always situations where it may be different, as it effects one person to the next, but generally, the side effects should be minimal, if any,” Barrett explained.

The clinics will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Saratoga County Department of Health offices located at 6012 County Farm Road in Ballston Spa.

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