CHARLOTTE — Thanks to a pilot program from the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer additional vaccines to states hosting large LGBTQI+ events, Mecklenburg County Public Health will be distributing monkeypox vaccines at Charlotte Pride events this weekend.
Federal partners worked with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Mecklenburg County Public Health to develop a plan to administer vaccines during multiple Pride events in Charlotte. While anyone can get monkeypox, right now, nearly all cases are among men who have sex with men. Currently, Mecklenburg County has 25 or more monkeypox cases, the most of any North Carolina county.
“We’re proud to bring all levels of government together in partnership with community organizations to push back the monkeypox virus,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Through our work at Charlotte Pride we’re increasing access to care across the entire southeast.”
The CDC is offering assistance and support to states including North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana to prepare for these large events, including helping develop vaccine and testing strategies for the events and developing tools for information-gathering from event participants.
“Mecklenburg County Public Health is excited that the federal and state governments have recognized our efforts surrounding monkeypox and that we are able to create awareness and access to vaccine,” said Paige Bennett, Mecklenburg County deputy health director. “We are proud to be part of protecting our community.”
In addition to assisting with injections, the Mecklenburg County Public Health Clinical team will be on site to counsel people on how and why to get their necessary second dose, as well as how to limit their exposure to and risk of getting monkeypox. The doses provided for Charlotte Pride events are in addition to the more than 18,000 doses North Carolina has received through its existing allocations.
The federal pilot program is setting aside 50,000 doses of vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile that states can request to order on top of their existing vaccine allocations and supply.
To make it easier to get a monkeypox vaccine, Mecklenburg County Public Health will be distributing vaccine on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at partner events surrounding Pride weekend and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during the Charlotte Pride festival. For the latest information on monkeypox in Mecklenburg County, visit mecknc.gov/HealthDepartment/CDControl/GeneralCDControl/Pages/Monkeypox.aspx.
NCDHHS and its partners encourage North Carolinians, especially those as higher risk for monkeypox, to take three steps to help limit the spread of the virus:
- LEARN the facts. Anyone can get monkeypox. It spreads mostly through close skin-to-skin contact.
- LOOK for a rash. Get new rashes, lesions or sores checked by a health care provider. Talk with your partner about any monkeypox symptoms.
- LOCATE testing and vaccines for yourself or your community. There is no limit on testing. Talk to your doctor or local health department. Limited vaccine supply is prioritized for those currently most at risk and the communities where the virus is spreading.
For the latest information on monkeypox in North Carolina, including where to locate testing and vaccines, visit ncdhhs.gov/monkeypox.