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New Covid-19 vaccine available, Broward monkeypox cases rise

This image from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy shows monkeypox on a man’s chest and arm. (Photo: Berkay Ataseven/iStock)

HOLLYWOOD – The Seminole Tribe’s Health and Human Services (HHS) department is offering a new Covid-19 vaccine to adults called Novavax. It is intended as a primary vaccine for those who have never received one, not as a booster shot.

HHS said Novavax is the first protein-based vaccine available for Covid-19 in the U.S. Protein-based vaccines have been used for more than 30 years for viruses such as the shingles and the flu. HHS said some people have been holding out for a more “traditional vaccine.”

The CDC recommended Novavax as another primary series option July 19.

“If you have been waiting for a Covid-19 vaccine built on a different technology than those previously available, now is the time to join the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated,” CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky, said in a statement. “With Covid-19 cases on the rise again across parts of the country, vaccination is critical to help protect against the complications of severe Covid-19 disease.”

HHS continues to encourage tribal members and employees to wear a mask “when appropriate” due to a rise in Covid-19 cases at the tribe and in Florida.

“The good thing is that hospitalizations have not increased [at the tribe],” Dr. Vandhana Kiswani-Barley, HHS executive director, said July 27.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” July 23. Kiswani-Barley said there have been no reported cases within the tribe. While there is a vaccine for monkeypox, she said it would only be given to individuals who have had “a positive exposure and/or positive test results.”

Kiswani-Barley said the Florida Department of Health told her that it would aid the tribe with vaccine and treatment options in the event there is a positive monkeypox case. The Florida Department of Health reported that there were 129 cases of monkeypox in Broward County as of July 24 – the most in the state.

Monkeypox can spread in different ways, according to the CDC, including through direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It can spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

HHS said monkeypox symptoms usually begin with a fever and can include headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, chills and backache. After a fever, a rash develops within one to three days (sometimes longer), often beginning in the face and spreading to other parts of the body. Lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin may also swell.

For more information about Covid-19, monkeypox or vaccines, call the HHS hotline at (833) 786-3458. More information is also available at

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at