Maine’s first monkeypox vaccination clinic opens in Ogunquit

Maine reported its third case of monkeypox earlier this week.
Maine reported its third case of monkeypox earlier this week.(WABI)
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:06 AM EDT
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OGUNQUIT, Maine (WMTW) - The first monkeypox vaccination clinic in Maine opened Friday in Ogunquit.

The clinic is being run in partnership with Local Roots Heath Care and the Maine CDC.

Maine reported its third case of monkeypox earlier this week.

“We’re concerned about it because we don’t want it to grow into something larger, that’s why we’re out here doing these sorts of vaccination clinics,” said Kyle Holmquist, a nurse practitioner with Local Roots.

The clinic was open to men who have recently had sex with other men. Holmquist explains that group has made up the majority of cases in the current U.S. monkeypox outbreak, but they are not the only ones susceptible to the virus.

“We had an outbreak in the Midwest in 2003 that had absolutely nothing to do with this same population,” Holmquist said.

Holmquist said the cinlic had hundreds of doses available on its first day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including a rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with the virus.

Dr. Mark Abel, an infectious disease physician with Northern Light Health, said exposure through actions such as trying on clothes, brushing shoulders in a public space or handshakes are considered “pretty low-risk.”

According to Abel, the more prolonged and persistent the contact, the higher the risk for transmitting the virus.

“We don’t know the specifics about how long you have to be in touch with someone to get the infection, but if you walk past someone with monkeypox and maybe just brush them, that’s a pretty low-risk exposure,” Abel said.

Abel said the risk for the general public is low, and encouraged people to practice simple measures to prevent the spread, including regular handwashing and not touching the rash of another person.

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