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On Friday, the Polis administration announced additional steps to combat monkeypox, including additional vaccine clinics, while applauding the federal expansion and acceleration of the manufacture and distribution of monkeypox vaccine, as well as the expansion of treatment and testing. Earlier this week, President Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccera declared a national health emergency around monkeypox.

According to the governor, since mid-May, the state of Colorado has been quickly responding to the monkeypox virus, standing up a full epidemiological response, testing at the state laboratory, and hosting multiple clinics to administer the extremely limited vaccine supply we receive from the federal government.

“Colorado has been at the forefront of responding to the monkeypox virus. We administer or distribute the extremely limited supply of vaccines that the federal government provides us as soon as we receive them. We will continue to advocate for more vaccines and are pleased to hear more are on the way,” said Governor Jared Polis.

The state is expanding broader distribution across the state as federal allocation increases. At this time, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has enrolled more than 30 providers statewide and is actively working to enroll more to serve as locations to administer monkeypox vaccines.

There are no 79 confirmed cases of Monkeypox identified in Colorado. Photo by UnSplash.

Public health will administer at least 480 additional doses of the vaccine in its currently scheduled, fully booked clinics through August 13 and plans to add more in the near future pending federal supply of vaccines. CDPHE has a form for Coloradans to determine if they are eligible to receive the vaccine per the current criteria.

Coloradans can confirm their eligibility by filling out the online form. Eligible Coloradans who complete the form will be added to a waitlist and contacted when more clinics are scheduled as more vaccines become available from the federal government.

“We’re ready for the additional vaccines and are standing up even more vaccine clinics across the state with the help of our local partners,” said Scott Bookman, Division Director, Disease Control and Public Health Response, CDPHE. “Even though this is a very different disease than COVID-19 and it spreads differently, we have leveraged all of the lessons we learned from the pandemic to stand up an efficient response.”

To date, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has:

  • Actively administered or distributed 6,205 doses of the extremely limited Jynneos vaccine from the federal government.
  • Placed the state’s latest order with the federal government on Aug. 1 for an additional 5,080 doses.
  • Administered nearly 2,000 doses of Jynneos vaccine at 17 CDPHE clinics, quickly dispensing the vaccine as soon as it received from the federal government.
  • Redistributed more than 2,620 doses to local providers to ensure vaccine access across the state and strategically where they have identified cases.
  • Stood up a verified testing structure and tested specimens from 274 people at the state lab.
  • Executed an outreach strategy involving LGBTQ+ nonprofits, business leaders, and community organizations to get direct, non-stigmatizing messaging to Coloradans currently most at risk.

To be as transparent as possible and get Coloradans critical information, the state has a data dashboard that it updates at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday-Friday. As of August 4, Colorado has 79 cases and there are now more than 7,000 cases nationwide. While initial cases were in the gay community, monkeypox is now in the general population, including cases of monkeypox in children.

People who are experiencing symptoms of monkeypox or think they have been exposed to monkeypox should contact a health care provider to discuss testing. Many providers can now submit specimens through commercial laboratory networks such as Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, and Sonic Healthcare.

If you do not have a health care provider or do not have insurance, visit CDPHE’s monkeypox webpage for a list of monkeypox testing locations. Right now, five locations are listed, and CDPHE is working diligently to add more partners. Currently, these locations are only for people who have a rash they suspect may be monkeypox. Appointments are limited — call the phone number listed to ask about available appointments. If you have a rash or sores, cover them with long sleeves, pants, or a bandage. Wear a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth during your appointment. Patients can take this document with them to their medical visits.