People attending Charlotte’s pride festival this weekend can receive the monkeypox vaccine thanks to new doses arriving from the federal government.
Two thousand free vaccines will be administered at the Hal Marshall Annex, 618 N. College St., Saturday and Sunday, Mecklenburg County public information officer Suzette Nedrich said. Mecklenburg County Public Health clinical staff will also attend Charlotte Pride events to spread awareness about monkeypox and distribute the vaccine.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services allocated 2,000 doses to Mecklenburg County that it received from the federal government specifically for Charlotte Pride, according to a White House news release.
This is in addition to 3,000 doses Mecklenburg County Public Health has already distributed, Nedrich said. The Biden administration has been working for weeks to involve large LGBTQ+ events in its monkeypox response, a White House official said, and Charlotte Pride will be the first event as part of this vaccine roll out.
Monkeypox is a virus that can cause flu-like symptoms, skin lesions and swollen lymph nodes. It primarily occurs in central and western Africa, but it’s spread across the globe this year to countries that usually don’t see outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“MCPH appreciates the pivotal support of state and federal authorities in this pilot effort to protect our community,” Nedrich told The Charlotte Observer.
In Mecklenburg County, men who have sex with men or transgender people are eligible for the vaccine if they report the following in the last 90 days: having multiple or anonymous sex partners, being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection and receiving HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
“While anyone can get monkeypox, right now, nearly all cases are among men who have sex with men,” NCDHHS said in a news release.
Mecklenburg County has reported 25 cases of monkeypox, the most in North Carolina, according to NCDHHS.
For more information about monkeypox, visit mecknc.gov/healthdepartment.