HealthThe Examiner

Westchester Med Center Gives Drive-Through Monkeypox Vaccine

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Westchester Medical Center is opening a drive-through monkeypox vaccine clinic to supplement the output at the county Health Department clinic and a few other providers as the number of active cases inch higher locally.

The county has now received 4,540 doses of the vaccine from New York State as Westchester’s count of monkeypox cases has reached 27, County Executive George Latimer said Monday.

Latimer said the medical center in Valhalla is in the process of setting up the vaccine tent that it used earlier on in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you can’t come down to downtown White Plains, for instance, the drive-through may be a more convenient option for you,” he said.

Two weeks ago, the county began to administer the monkeypox vaccine by appointment only at the Health Department clinic located at 134 Court St. in White Plains. Operating hours are Mondays from 12 to 3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. It is a two-shot regimen requiring a vaccine recipient to return 28 days later for the second shot.

White Plains Hospital, St. John’s Riverside and Open Door Family Medical Centers also have had a limited supply of the vaccine.

No days and hours of operation have been released regarding the drive-through vaccination site at Westchester Medical Center, but starting Tuesday people can call 914-326-2060 to make appointments. A person does not have to be a Westchester resident to set an appointment and receive a vaccine.

The measures being taken by health officials are largely precautionary since there have been no fatalities from monkeypox, although the rash and lesions that result from the virus can be painful, Latimer said.

“None of those (27) individuals are in a life-threatening situation and all of them are in some level of being treated and are recuperating with this disease,” Latimer said.

Monkeypox is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual or touching an article of clothing or another object that was in contact with someone who has the rash or lesions.

Latimer said people who have been exposed to monkeypox or are in one of the high-risk categories such as having compromised immunity are among those who should consider the vaccine.

To make an appointment for the vaccine at the county clinic in White Plains, call 914-995-8900.

Officials Monitoring Polio

After last Friday’s announcement by Rockland County that one of its residents tested positive for police, Putnam and Westchester officials are keeping a close watch on whether any additional cases develop.

So far, the one case in Rockland remains the only known police case.

Putnam County Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael Nesheiwat said the identification of the polio case has heightened the importance of adhering to the Centers for Disease Control childhood immunization scheduled.

“In this particular case, there is indication that transmission occurred from an individual who received the oral polio vaccine, which has not been available in this country since 2000,” Nesheiwat said. “The only polio vaccine available in the U.S. is the inactivated polio vaccine, which cannot result in polio infection, as it does not contain live virus.”

Because of widespread vaccination, the last naturally occurring polio infection in the United States was in 1979, according to the Putnam County Health Department.

Polio is a viral disease that may affect the neurologic system, causing muscle weakness and, in certain cases, may result in paralysis or death.

Anyone who has not completed the polio vaccination series or is at high risk for transmission is encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or the health department to schedule a polio vaccination, Nesheiwat said.

COVID-19 Persists

Meanwhile, on the COVID-19 front, active cases in Westchester continue to stay in a fairly narrow range over the last couple of months.

The county has settled into a range from the high 2000s to about 3,500 to 3,600. On Monday, there were 3,448 active cases in Westchester, Latimer said.

Statewide, the positivity rate on Sunday was 9.9 percent and 9.2 percent on the seven-day rolling average.

Closer to home, Westchester recorded a 10.9 percent positivity rate and 9.8 on the seven-day average while Putnam County’s numbers were 11.3 and 10 percent, respectively.

Deputy Westchester County Executive Ken Jenkins said the Health Department clinic in White Plains is administering COVID-19 vaccines to children from six months to five years old on Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Vaccinations for adults is from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, he said.

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