Washington County Health Department officials encourage anyone concerned about exposure to the monkeypox (MPX) virus to pre-register with the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) system for potential vaccination. While reported cases in the area sit at less than 10, according to MDH’s MPX resources page, and risk to the general public appears to be low across the country, it’s important to take the steps that are available now.
“As the local public health agency, we are working closely with the Maryland Department of Health to actively monitor the situation and implement response and coordination strategies,” says Dr. Diana Gaviria, deputy health officer at the Washington County Health Department. “Concerned members of the community should begin with a conversation or visit with their primary health care provider. Anyone who doesn’t have a doctor to speak with about their potential exposure to or high risk for the virus or symptoms they may be experiencing should call our general number – 240-313-3200 – and a member of our team will walk you through the next steps.”
Dr. Gaviria explains that the pre-registration system allows for the collection of important information about potential risk to the virus. Everything is kept confidential and secure and available to only MDH and the local health departments.
“Pre-registration does not guarantee an invitation to a vaccination appointment; however, due to the limited supply of MPX vaccines in the state, this is the best way for anyone who wants and feels they need a vaccine to get in the queue for an opportunity to do so here in the county,” says Dr. Gaviria.
As vaccine supply grows and more become available to the health department, team members there will reach out to those pre-registered individuals who meet the newly expanded criteria determined by MDH and set up an appointment for their first dose. Regular updates and information on monkeypox and the link to pre-register are all available here.