The monkeypox vaccine is available in Massachusetts but in limited supply. I was lucky to snag an appointment but how did it all work and what's next?

I'm sure you have heard by now that monkeypox is something we all should be taking note of (but not panicking about) and, yes, getting another vaccine for if considered higher risk, to prevent the spread from getting out of hand. Now that Massachusetts has recorded its first cases in the state, maybe it's something you start to take seriously.

I know not everyone wants to jump at the opportunity to get another shot in the arm but many would, and as I came to find out, I was extremely lucky to get this vaccine.

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First, I was fortunate to find an appointment as the quantity is limited. Secondly, being a member of the LGBT community puts me at "higher risk," according to health officials. I'm not sure why that is seeing as Monkeypox, similar to any viral disease can be spread to anyone regardless of their orientation.

I spoke with Connie Rocha-Mimoso, director of Community Health Services at Seven Hills Foundation in New Bedford, the first clinic in the area to receive the vaccine. While in late July the center got 100 doses, it has since gotten hundreds more and continues to get more weekly.

"The best way to go about getting your vaccine is going online or contacting the state Department of Public Health," Rocha-Mimoso said. "While we are turning no one away we are prioritizing those who are at higher risk of exposure and making sure those cases are getting an appointment usually within the same week of calling in."

Monkeypox vaccine is a two-shot series, with the second dose needing to be at least 28 days after the initial.

As for side effects from the vaccine?

Well, my personal experience wasn't anything to write home about. I had crazy muscle aches and extreme fatigue. Friends of mine only experienced soreness in the arm where they received the shot.

If you are interested in getting the vaccine or think you may either be at high risk or in contact with someone who has monkeypox, you can call Seven Hills at 774-634-3725.

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