Since the city of Berkeley partnered with Steamworks in July to distribute vaccines for monkeypox, residents have expressed concerns regarding access to a second dose of the short-supplied shot.
According to Amy Davidson, deputy director for Berkeley’s Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, the city has 13 confirmed cases of monkeypox as of Thursday. Davidson noted that Berkeley currently has 308 vaccines on hand as of Thursday as well, 100 of which will be transferred to Carbon Health on Monday.
The vaccine known as JYNNEOS offers peak immunity 14 days after receiving a second dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I have some friends that are sex workers, and they actually have had their second dose. But that’s because of their occupation,” said Michael Hagler, a Berkeley resident and general manager of Smoke Berkeley. “I haven’t known anybody run of the mill, you know, like me, just running off and getting your second shot.”
Hagler received his first monkeypox vaccination July 27 at the Steamworks pop-up site. He alleged, however, that he received no information about his second dose from facilitators at the site besides recommendations that he follow up in two weeks after they administered his vaccination.
Eduardo Rosas, a worker in the city of Berkeley, said he was due for his second dose Wednesday, but also alleged that he received no information from Steamworks staff on when he would receive it. He alleged that he was told only to check the California Department of Public Health website.
According to Rosas, confusion over the availability of the second dose is a concern for himself and his peers.
“Especially with everything going on, the numbers are just increasing dramatically, especially here in the Bay Area and San Francisco,” Rosas said. “We have no idea if we’re gonna be able to get the second dose because so many people haven’t even gotten the first one.”
Davidson noted that the second dose of the JYNNEOS vaccine should be given no earlier than 28 days after the first dose, and that the city is continuing to prioritize first-dose vaccinations in order to protect as many at-risk individuals as possible.
The Steamworks pop-up is expected to resume Aug. 17. Clinics such as LifeLong Medical Care will also be offering the vaccine for its patients, and UC Berkeley’s Tang Center has received doses to vaccinate at-risk staff and students.
Davidson noted that walk-in appointments would also be available at Carbon Health after it receives doses from the city this week. For now, high-risk individuals are taking precautions in order to minimize their chances of exposure.
“Everyone has modified their sex practices … and making sure that we’re not going out to the club, or anything like that,” Rosas said. “We’re kind of just retracting, kind of going back to the beginning of the pandemic.”