• Monkeypox is a virus that spreads through prolonged skin to skin contact, sex, kissing, breathing at very close range, or sharing bedding and clothing.
  • Monkeypox is rare and currently a low threat to the general public.
  • It can be serious, though most cases resolve on their own. Seeing a doctor right away is important.
  • Having sex or close physical contact with multiple people can put you at higher risk for monkeypox if it is spreading in the community.
  • It appears as a distinctive rash or sores on the skin anywhere on the body, especially in the genital area. It often begins as flu-like symptoms.
  • It is possible that pets could become infected or contaminated with the virus through close contact with an infected person and spread the virus to others.
  • We are working with state and federal agencies to monitor for monkeypox, and to help control the spread of the virus.

Here are some images* of what monkeypox can look like (click on image to enlarge):

* “Monkeypox rash” by NHS England High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network

  • Cover exposed skin in crowds
  • Don't share bedding or clothing with others
  • Talk to close physical and sexual contacts about their general health like recent rashes or sores
  • Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are outbreaks
  • Cover the area of the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing
  • Wear a well-fitted mask
  • Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others
  • Contact a health care provider as soon as possible
  • Assist public health officials to track others who may have been exposed
  • See the CDC webpage Pets in the Home for information about what do if you have a pet
  • If you do not have healthcare provider or coverage, contact (831) 454-4114

Screen regularly for sexually transmitted infections. Syphilis and herpes are much more common than monkeypox – they appear similar and should be treated too.

Monkeypox Vaccine

The Jynneos vaccine is for preventative use only and is a two-dose vaccine that is administered 28 days apart and has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration for safe and effective monkeypox prevention.

We are working with healthcare systems to expand the locations of vaccines to their members and patients, while ensuring an equitable distribution to people who are uninsured, disconnected from care, or are from underserved communities.

While there is currently adequate vaccine supply, vaccine providers can offer vaccine to any patients who MAY be at risk. Persons who request vaccination should receive it without having to attest to specific risk factors. For complete guidelines, visit California Department of Public Health (CDPH) expanded vaccination recommendations for those seeking protection from Monkeypox (MPX) infection (11/15/2022).

As of 9/30/2022, Santa Cruz County residents are eligible for 1st and 2nd doses of Jynneos vaccine if they meet at least one of the risk criteria below:

  • Gay or bisexual men, or any man or trans person who has sex with men or trans people
  • Sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Persons of any age and any gender who feel they are at risk of coming in close contact with someone in the future with suspected or confirmed MPX
  • Persons who had close contact with others at a venue or event or within a social group within the past 14 days where a suspected or confirmed MPX case was identified. This includes persons who received notice from a venue or event of a potential exposure within the past 14 days
  • Laboratory workers who routinely perform MPX virus testing
  • Clinicians who have had, or may have in the future, an occupational exposure (e.g., examined MPX lesions or collected MPX specimens without using recommended personal protective equipment)

How to Access Vaccine

Public Health is working closely with health care partners to offer the Jynneos vaccine.

Contact your healthcare provider to find out if you’re eligible to receive the Jynneos vaccine and schedule an appointment. If you’re uninsured and need support finding a Jynneos vaccine appointment, please email immunizations@santacruzcounty.us.

For Sutter/PAMF patients only:


Eligible patients can schedule a vaccine appointment by calling (833) 437-1830, Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 6:00 pm. Appointment availability remains limited due to supply. Additional appointments will open as vaccine supply increases. For additional information and updates, patients may visit the Sutter Health MPX Webpage. If you are eligible and unable to get an appointment, please call your healthcare provider.

Vaccine Resources


California Dept of Public Health (CDPH) Monkeypox Information and Alerts

CDC Monkeypox Information

If you have questions or need information regarding possible Monkeypox cases
call the Public Health Department Communicable Disease Unit at (831) 454-4114