As the summer and Pride season are upon us, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging everyone who wants to — but particularly men, trans people, and nonbinary people who have sex with men — to get the two-dose regimen of the mpox (aka monkeypox) vaccine.

Mpox never really disappeared, though we haven't had a notable outbreak in SF since the summer of 2022. There was a small uptick in cases here late summer, however, which only got scant media coverage. And, like they did at this time last year, DPH has put out a public service announcement to encourage people to get their second, or their first and second doses of the mpox vaccine if they haven't already.

DPH also notes that the Centers for Disease Control is monitoring a new mpox outbreak that's occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That outbreak involves a different strain of mpox — known as clade I mpox — which appears to cause more severe illness. The outbreak that occurred around the globe in 2022 was clade II mpox, while clade I mpox is associated with a higher rate of fatalities among those infected.

The CDC notes that mpox is endemic in the Congo, and no cases of clade I mpox have been detected outside the country as of now.

"With summer celebrations such as Pride approaching, now is a great time to protect yourself against mpox by getting vaccinated. The mpox vaccine is available through health systems and at clinics,” says SF Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip in a statement. “Even if you are fully vaccinated, it is still important to remain diligent since no vaccine is 100% effective."

Symptoms of mpox include a rash that looks like pimples or blisters, and anyone experiencing such a rash should talk to their healthcare provider about getting tested. They should also inform any recent sexual partners in order to stave off further spread of the virus.

The New York City health department has been tracking a growing number of mpox cases there, with 42 new cases in the month of April, and 191 recorded so far this year. Chicago has seen 69 cases in the last six months, but only two cases were recorded last month.

San Francisco has only seen nine new cases of mpox since January 1.

Two doses of the mpox vaccine are required for full vaccination, with these doses spread 28 or more days apart.

The health department encourages people to seek vaccination from their regular healthcare provider, but they can also get vaccinated at SF City Clinic, at the SF AIDS Foundation (see more info here), and at the department's Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic by making an appointment.

Previously: Mpox Cases on the Rise Again in SF, Health Department Warns [August 2023]