Health Centers Prepare for Pride Amid Continued Spread of Monkeypox

Carmela Karcher

“There has been a little bit less of a demand in the last two weeks by the community so that demonstrates right there that people are getting vaccinated,” Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness Services at DAP Health, C.J. Tobe, shared.

More vaccines and more vaccinations.

All in preparation for one of the desert’s biggest events: Pride.

“We’ve been in regular contact with Riverside County Department of Public Health to try to partner and also go to different venues throughout the community to provide vaccines for Leather Pride and also for Palm Springs Pride,” Tobe explained.

But this year, DAP Health is doing something a little different.

“We are going to have a DAP Health pavilion that will be focused on health and wellness,” Tobe said. “We’re going to have workshops that will be led by our community partners such as Queer Works, Brothers of the Desert and Planned Parenthood. We will also include yoga meditation, 12 step programming, artistic healing and so much more. It’s going to be a completely different look this year for DAP Health and our presence at the Palm Springs Pride.”

But health experts are encouraging pride goers to be aware.

“Just be cautious,” Tobe continued. “You know, make sure that you’re not doing prolonged touch, reducing sex partners, making sure you’re doing good hygiene by washing your hands, washing sheets, washing bedding. Coming to Palm Springs Pride, walking in a parade, partaking in a health and wellness DAP Health pavilion, none of those are going to put you at risk of monkeypox.”

What about Dinah Shore happening this weekend?

“We’re not doing anything MPX related for Dinah Shore,” he said. “Mostly because we know that 98% plus of the positive cases for monkeypox are men. So as far as the risk of MPX at Dinah Shore this weekend, based on the data and the cases we’ve seen, it would be very minimal.”

In preparation for November, vaccine distribution is still a top priority.

“We are in a crisis right now as far as advocating to get vaccines, but then making sure that we can operationalize those vaccines and get them into arms,” Tobe said. “We will definitely continue to ramp up vaccine efforts from now through the rest of this year to ensure that everybody that wants a vaccine, gets one.”

Next Saturday, October 1st, DAP Health is hosting another vaccine clinic at their main campus by appointment only.

They will be accepting walk-ins starting at 12:30 for their patients and other clients that currently meet the vaccine criteria.

DAP Health has a MPX hotline that can be reached at 760-656-8432.

They are screening callers to see if they are eligible for a vaccine, regardless if they’re a DAP Health patient or client.

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