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State expands monkeypox vaccine clinics to Tippecanoe and Allen counties

Tippecanoe County will hold a pop-up monkeypox vaccine clinic on Friday (Creative commons/wuestenigel)
Tippecanoe County will hold a pop-up monkeypox vaccine clinic on Friday (Creative commons/wuestenigel)

Tippecanoe County will host a monkeypox vaccine clinic on Friday, as part of a statewide effort to protect high-risk communities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently lists 77 cases of monkeypox in Indiana. The Tippecanoe County Health Department confirmedthree of those cases were in the county at the end of July.

Indiana’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said the state had only received 6,700 vials of the monkeypox vaccine.

“That’s very limited for the people we know want the vaccine and who are at risk for monkeypox,” she said.

The CDC earlier this week approved using a smaller dosage of the vaccine in order to stretch them out - and Weaver said they are trying to identify the best locations to distribute shots.

“We have a general sense for what would be a fair allocation for all the part of the state, so we’re paying attention to that so not all the vaccine goes into the county,” she said.

Last week, the health department vaccinated almost 700 people in Marion County.

Weaver said the virus is spread through prolonged physical contact. In Indiana, the spread has primarily been among men who have sex with men – but is not limited to that group.

Reporters asked Weaver how the state is handling the vaccine rollout without stigmatizing the gay community.

“Talking about stigma is a part of all of our conversations, but at the same time we want to communicate the correct message so we can communicate to at-risk groups so they know they are at risk,” she said.

Weaver also said the state is in the process of rolling out a monkeypox dashboard identifying cases in each region - similar to what was done with the COVID-19.

“As we get more cases then we’ll be able to narrow in more by county, but even if you look at our COVID website right now, we often have to suppress numbers if the numbers are really low in a particular area… so we can protect people’s privacy,” she said.

The clinic will be held from 9 p.m to midnight at the Tippecanoe County Health Department.