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Monkeypox (MPV) vaccine available for eligible populations at Boise State Vaccination Clinic

Photo courtesy of Justin Sullivan

Monkeypox (MPV) vaccines are now available to those eligible at the Boise State Vaccination Clinic.

Due to limited supply, vaccinations are currently reserved  for those deemed by the CDC to be most “at-risk” for contracting the virus. Eligibility for the vaccine at Boise State currently includes anyone suspected of coming into contact with MPV, any “gay, bisexual, and/or other man or trans person who has sex with men” and also sex workers of any sexual orientation, according to Boise State’s website. 

“We have a limited supply of vaccines as a nation, as a state and locally,” Maureen Welcker, senior public health officer at Boise State, said. “So the vaccines that are available have been prioritized for specific groups to be able to help prevent and control the outbreak.”

The monkeypox virus, also known as MPV, is in the same virus family as the variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Boise State University has chosen to refer to monkeypox as MPV to align with other commonly transmitted infections in the college such as the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Welcker mentioned that Boise State’s decision to use the name MPV was also “in connection to concerns about the racial roots” of the term “monkeypox.”

“The American College of Health Association, as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians use MPV when referring to monkeypox,” Welcker said. “We want people to know what we’re talking about, but we also are trying to use some better nomenclature.”

According to the CDC, “people with [MPV] get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.” Symptoms also include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, headaches and respiratory symptoms. 

Symptoms of MPV will typically start within three weeks of being exposed to the virus, and will normally last anywhere from two to four weeks. Individuals can be contagious until the rash has fully healed, and are recommended to quarantine until a new layer of skin has formed over any rashes. 

Safeway pharmacist Ashley McGee fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination at a vaccination booster shot clinic on Oct. 1, 2021 in San Rafael, California.
Photo courtesy of Justin Sullivan

The Boise State Vaccination Clinic is not currently offering testing for MPV, so individuals who experience symptoms, especially any unknown rashes, are encouraged to reach out to their healthcare providers, according to Welcker. 

There have only been 11 positive MPV cases in Idaho and none have been on campus, but Boise State is prepared to respond if there is an outbreak within the campus community.

“We have developed a pretty comprehensive plan in terms of how we here at Boise State would respond,” Welcker said. “We’ve worked with a lot of campus community members to come up with planning around things like testing, treatments, vaccinations and monitoring following exposures, [as well as] isolation and resources for individuals.”

While vaccines remain available, Boise State will be offering recurring vaccination clinics for eligible populations. The next clinic will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sep. 14 at the Boise State Vaccination Clinic. 

The Boise Pride Festival will also be hosting their own MPV vaccination clinic Sep. 10 and 11 on the festival grounds from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will also have a clinic at the Balcony Club in downtown Boise Sep. 10 from 3-6 p.m., but only those who are at least 21 may attend. 

If any Boise State student, faculty or staff member test positive for MPV they should contact Boise State Public Health at publichealth@boisestate.edu or (208) 426-2968.

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