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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Island has 11 confirmed cases of monkeypox

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Iris Cardona

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico now has 11 confirmed cases of monkeypox, the Health Department announced Thursday.

Two of the patients are between the ages of 20 and 30 years and the third case is an individual between 50 and 60 years old.

Two of the cases had been identified as contacts of previously confirmed cases. The patients are stable and in isolation at home.

“Vaccination is extremely important to stop the chains of local transmission that can occur as a result of monkeypox,” Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López said in a written statement. “We already have 1,200 first doses on the island; under this phase it is important to emphasize to the population the priority groups or close contacts investigated by the Department of Health.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization met to assess public health implications as global cases passed the 14,000 mark, with six countries reporting their first cases.

The island Health Department reported that on Wednesday, 90 health professionals who are part of a group of 23 health care providers received training and will begin administering the monkeypox vaccine in the coming days.

In the first stage, eligible cases will be identified by the team of the Office of Epidemiology through the surveillance system and through case investigation, tracing and exposure risk assessment. They will be followed by those who have had contact with a sexual partner who has been diagnosed with monkeypox in the last 21 days, those who had multiple sexual partners in the last 21 days or those who had any close or intimate contact with infected people.

Mellado López said it is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has distributed the vaccines equitably considering the number of confirmed cases in the states and territories of the United States.

The Jynneos vaccine will be administered on the island in the coming days, he said.

Iris Cardona, the chief medical officer at the Health Department, said that during the training they answered questions about the distribution, handling, requisition, administration and registration of vaccines.

“Providers already have the information and education about the Jynneos vaccine,” she said. “Certified providers will begin the vaccination process once they receive the vaccines in an orderly process.”

Cardona specified that people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose.

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