ORLANDO, Fla. – Harmony Healthcare Orlando is on round two for monkeypox vaccine distribution at District Dive Bar in the Milk District.
Wednesday evening, John Bergstrom was first in line to get his shot.
“It was very quick, very easy, no pain in and out,” Bergstrom said.
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He said he lived through multiple outbreaks like smallpox and believes it’s wise to get vaccinated.
Bergstrom shared a story about his friend who contracted monkeypox after a quick trip to Miami. Bergstrom then realized how quickly and easily the virus can spread.
“It’s something I don’t need at my age or any age,” Bergstrom said.
Matthew Viera-Briggs, Chief Clinical Officer of Harmony Health Care, said community members need to be proactive.
“The best protection is prevention. Make sure you’re protecting yourself ahead of time,” Viera-Briggs said. “Get the vaccine because this is a skin-to-skin transmission.”
For people who do contract the virus, there is now an option for experimental treatment.
It’s called TPOXX, which is an emergency-use authorization from the federal government.
“It is an antiviral that reduces the severity of monkey pox and also shortens the lifespan of it,” Viera-Briggs said.
It can be taken orally at home or with an IV. Patients will have to take the pills two-to-three times per day, and it must be taken with food.
Viera-Briggs said it reduces pain, helps the lesions heal faster and can shorten the virus’ life span from 21 days to ten days.
“This is a very serious disease, and everyone needs to remember it’s not a STD. Anyone can get this,” Viera-Briggs said.
While not a sexually transmitted disease, monkeypox has frequently been transmitted through sexual contact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC also recommends that people use safer sex practices to lower risk of transmission. The Orange County Department of Health has also stated that medical workers working closely with monkeypox cases, gay or bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men are at-risk groups.
He said it is also recommended that patients wait at least one month after getting a COVID-19 shot to get the monkeypox vaccine to get the best benefit from both.
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