Public Health Department Releases New Data Showing Latino Gay and Bisexual Men Disproportionately Impacted by Monkeypox in Santa Clara County

Public Health Vaccinates Over 500 People at High Risk of Getting Monkeypox at First Two Clinics 

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA. – The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department releases race and ethnicity of monkeypox cases to further strengthen critical outreach to those most impacted in the community. Among those diagnosed with monkeypox infection, a disproportionate number are among Latino and Hispanic men, similar to patterns seen in other jurisdictions. In Santa Clara County, 41 percent of cases are among Hispanic or Latino gay and bisexual men, as compared to 26 percent of Latinos in the population of Santa Clara County. Anyone can get monkeypox, however this outbreak currently is spreading mainly among men who have sex with men. The Public Health Department collects and analyzes the race and ethnicity of monkeypox cases to ensure resources and information are being shared where needed most. 

“We are doing all we can to vaccinate the people who need it most, with the limited vaccine supply available. We could not do this successfully without the support and collaboration of community partners and health care providers,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. "Public Health is about equity and making sure all people have access to the health care they need.” 

The Public Health Department partners closely with LGBTQ+ community organizations to reach individuals who currently are considered higher risk for contracting the disease to connect them to prevention, testing, treatment, and vaccination. The Department vaccinated more than 500 people referred by these organizations at two vaccine clinics in the past week, with more clinics planned as vaccine supply becomes available. 

To date, out of 39 total monkeypox cases in Santa Clara County: 

  • Hispanic or Latino: 21 
  • White non-Hispanic: 8 
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 6 
  • Black or African American: 2 
  • Unknown: 2 

These case counts are relatively small, and the proportions by race and ethnicity could change as more cases are identified. 

The County has requested more vaccines through emergency and routine processes and continues to advocate for increased supply, both for County-operated clinics and healthcare systems to vaccinate their own patients at highest risk. The County has not received confirmation of any additional monkeypox vaccine delivery dates. 

The Public Health Department continues to actively work with LGBTQ+ community partners in leveraging the trust that these organizations have built to ensure that the affected and at-risk populations are properly informed and empowered to protect themselves.   

Additionally, the County of Santa Clara is also opening the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Expo Hall for monkeypox vaccine efforts today, with 380 appointments already fully booked for Wednesday and Thursday. Due to limited supply of vaccine from the federal government, monkeypox vaccines at the Fairgrounds are currently provided by invitation or appointment only to those who are highest risk for infection from monkeypox. Appointments are currently fully booked, and more appointments will be opened once vaccine supply arrives from the State and federal government. 

“As more monkeypox vaccine become available, we will be ready to vaccinate people who need it the most, at a convenient and familiar location at the Fairgrounds,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “During the pandemic, the County has become an expert at standing up vaccine clinics to reach the most vulnerable people in our community. We’re taking the same approach for monkeypox.” 

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Getting a vaccine before exposure or soon after exposure – ideally within 4 days but up to 14 days after – can help prevent becoming infected with the monkeypox virus. For additional information about who is eligible for a vaccine and other monkeypox information, visit sccphd.org/monkeypox.    
  
More information about monkeypox can be found here: 

County of Santa Clara Public Health Department 
California Department of Public Health 
CDC 

 

Media Contact: Aaron Groff/Marianna Moles, Public Health Department media line: (408) 222-0410

 

Posted: July 27, 2022

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