Hundreds line up for monkeypox vaccines at first 'community' clinic in Seattle

Saturday, hundreds of people waited in line to get vaccinated for monkeypox at one of the first community vaccination clinics to be offered in Seattle and King County. 

The line wrapped around the block for much of the morning and afternoon as people streamed in to get their vaccinations.   

"Came in at about 10:30, it is now 2:30, and I just got my vaccine," said Israel Hizami.  He says he jumped at the opportunity to get vaccinated at the one-day only community health clinic. 

Monkeypox in Washington: Cases doubling every week

Washington State is continuing to see a growing number of monkeypox (MPV) cases, health officials said during a Thursday news conference.

"Didn’t feel a thing. It was great, other than the waiting," said Israel. 
 
Israel says he works in health care and his workplace has already seen a couple cases, but he said he was eligible for the vaccine Saturday due to other risk factors. 

"I love the fact that they had so many people show up. I think that it could have been organized a little bit better.  But, other than that, you know, I think it went really well," said Israel.   

Health officials said Saturday there were only about 570 shots available at the clinic. 

"We expect to be able to fully use all of those doses," said Dr. Mark Del Beccaro, Assistant Deputy Director of Public Health. 

Monkeypox, also called MPV, is most commonly spread through direct contact with Monkeypox-related rash, scabs or body fluids from an infected person.  So far, the cases that have been recorded in adults have been disproportionately affecting the LGBTQ+ community. Organizers say the Saturday clinic was offered to at-risk groups who were screened while in line.   

"We’re a first come, first serve, so the screener is just solely to determine if you are eligible to receive a vaccine today," said Ben Meana, Operations Lead for Community Vaccination Events. 

Dr. Beccaro says they hope that in the coming months, more vaccines will be available.  He says when the do get vaccines, they will host community clinics in locations where people don't traditionally have access to health care.  He says the clinics will also serve those who work so much during the week, they can't get to a weekday 9 to 5 style clinic.  

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"It’s more areas of community, both in South Seattle or South King County, where people don’t have good access to health care, said Dr. Mark Del Beccaro, Assistant Deputy Director of Public Health. 

"I think one of the things that really hit home was when they started referring to it as another gay disease, and thankfully, it is not, a gay disease.  I think that’s one of the things that has hit home for many people, that is making them come out and get vaccinated," said Israel.  

He says the vaccination was worth the wait Saturday. 

"We know how important is, and thankfully, people are actually concerned about their healthcare and  want to put an end to this," he said. 

Organizers say they are working to set up another community clinic, potentially on August 14th, in King County.  

Meantime, public health officials say there are also vaccines being offered at Harbor View as well. 

"One of the main clinics that’s offering monkeypox vaccines is the sexual health clinic at Harbor View, and they are doing an amazing job. They are trying to crank out as much as they can with the doses that they have are allotted to them, said Ben Meana, Operations Lead for Community Vaccination Events.   

"The Harborview Sexual Health Center will get doses for next week for their clinic," said Dr. Beccaro.  "We will run some of our events in neighborhoods where people are more at risk and people have a harder time accessing health care."