WASHINGTON — DC Health officials are offering monkeypox vaccinations to more people with walk-up appointments on Fridays. The walk-up appointments are meant to increase vaccine access to people who may not have the ability or technology to pre-register online, or for those who may not feel comfortable providing eligibility information online. DC Health reminds everyone that whether online or in person, eligibility information is confidential.
Beginning Friday, Aug. 5, walk-up vaccinations will be available from noon until 8 p.m., or while supplies last, at the DC Health monkeypox vaccination clinics located at:
- 3640 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE – Ward 8
- 7530 Georgia Ave NW – Ward 4
- 1900 I St NW – Ward 2
Walk-up vaccinations will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible residents who have not already received a first dose of the monkeypox vaccine. Each site will have 300 doses available per day. Wait times may vary depending on demand. Currently, to be eligible for the monkeypox vaccine, a person must be a District resident with proof of residency, 18 years of age or older, and:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple (more than one) or any anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days; or
- Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men; or
- Sex workers (of any sexual orientation/gender); or
- Staff (of any sexual orientation/gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)
Proof of residency can include:
- An identification card with a DC address
- A Utility bill or other mail with your name and a DC address
- A current DC lease or mortgage with your name on it
In addition to these walk-up appointments, officials remind D.C. residents that vaccination appointments will continue to be available by visiting preventmonkeypox.dc.gov. All residents are invited to pre-register for a vaccination appointment, and those who are not currently eligible will be contacted if eligibility changes and appointments are available.
DC Health officials say the priority is to reduce the spread of the virus early by ensuring that as many high-risk people are vaccinated as quickly as possible.
"Since the beginning of monkeypox, even before we had our first case here in D.C., we've been very aggressive in making sure that we were prepared for monkeypox," said Patrick Ashley with DC Health.
As of Aug. 2, DC Health has administered 10,500 doses of vaccine through the DC Health clinics with more than 1,300 appointments currently scheduled. More than 23,000 District residents are currently pre-registered.
"We've been very fortunate in D.C. that we've been able to get a good number of vaccines and offer those through our three monkeypox clinics," Ashley said. "We're very focused on getting the at-risk community vaccinated."
Ashley said that health officials are aware that other states also need vaccines.
"Monkeypox is not limited to D.C. and we're dependent on the entire community to stop the spread of monkeypox. We're very much looking forward to monkeypox vaccine being readily available throughout the country," he said.
Ashley said that while vaccines are currently only available to certain eligible communities, DC Health officials are closely monitoring what Dr. Anthony Fauci called "potential spill-over" to other communities, and staying prepared.
"As Dr. Fauci mentioned, that spill-over is something we're very closely watching. We're having conversations to make sure that all of our teams are prepared for that, our school teams, our universities are coming back in the fall as well, we're having lots of conversations with all of those partners to make sure that we're prepared," Ashley said. "The most important fact here is that we're making sure that we're prepared and get individuals vaccinated within those at-risk communities first so that we can prevent that spill-over."
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It can spread during intimate physical contact between people, including sex, kissing, and hugging. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or when a person touches fabrics, such as bedding and towels, used by a person with monkeypox.
Initial symptoms of monkeypox often include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash and lesions on the skin. Although the majority of cases do not require hospitalization, monkeypox is dangerous, highly contagious, and uncomfortable. While monkeypox can spread to anyone, the majority of current cases in the District are in men who have sex with men.
"People ask me all the time, 'When will be I be eligible for the vaccine?' and my answer to them is I hope that you never are. Because the reality is that we don't want it to have spill over into other communities where people need the vaccine. We're trying to contain it within the communities that we're seeing it as quickly as possible, so that the general population never has to worry about monkeypox," Ashley said.
For more information on DC Health's monkeypox response, click here.