Monkeypox Vaccines at UCSF
UCSF Health provides vaccination against monkeypox for all eligible patients. You don't need to be a UCSF patient to schedule this vaccine at our clinic. Please do not come to UCSF's emergency department for monkeypox vaccines or testing.
Monkeypox is an infectious disease that's currently spreading in the United States. It's transmitted through close contact and causes a rash on various parts of the body. You can learn more about monkeypox and what to do if you may have been exposed from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you have been exposed to monkeypox, getting vaccinated may keep you from getting sick. Vaccination is most effective within four days of exposure but can help up to 14 days later.
Vaccine supplies are limited and currently available only to high-risk populations, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The following people who live and work in San Francisco are eligible to receive the vaccine:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men or trans people who have sex with men, who have had more than one sexual partner in the past 14 days
- Sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender identity
- People who had close contact in the past 14 days with someone who has suspected or confirmed monkeypox
- People who had close contact in the past 14 days with others at a venue, event or social gathering where a suspected or confirmed monkeypox case was identified
- Laboratory workers who routinely perform monkeypox virus testing
- Care providers who had a high-risk exposure at work, such as handling monkeypox specimens without personal protective equipment
To get vaccinated at UCSF, you must make an appointment. All available appointments are listed in our online portal, MyChart, and we cannot accept walk-ins. Please do not come to the emergency room for monkeypox vaccines or testing.
Once you've logged in to your account, select "Schedule an appointment." You will be asked a series of questions to verify your eligibility and insurance coverage before you can schedule. Prior to your appointment, you will receive instructions on checking in remotely to ensure your visit is quick and efficient.
Please note that the supply of monkeypox vaccines at UCSF is extremely limited. We will add new appointments as soon as more doses become available.
- What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus, meaning it was initially transmitted to humans from infected animals. Early symptoms – fever, swollen glands and muscle aches – may resemble the flu. Many patients also develop a rash that looks like blisters or pimples on the genitals, anus, fingers, mouth, eyes or elsewhere on the body. Spots typically begin as flat sores, then turn into fluid-filled bumps that eventually burst and crust over.
Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and most people recover without treatment in a few weeks. Pain relievers and topical medications can ease the symptoms. If you have a severe infection, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication.
- How does monkeypox spread?
This infectious disease spreads mostly through close, intimate contact, including direct contact with a rash, scabs or other body fluids. It can also be transmitted through respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact, such as when kissing or during sex. Only patients with active symptoms, which typically last two to four weeks, can spread monkeypox.
While typically confined to parts of West and Central Africa, an outbreak of monkeypox is currently occurring in the United States. Many recent cases have occurred in men who have sex with men, but anyone who has close contact with a symptomatic person can contract the disease.