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Monkeypox vaccine shortage persists as big event looms in Atlanta – WABE

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“The reservation was closed within minutes of being posted online,” he said.

“I’ve definitely heard from dozens of people with similar experiences.

Your local county health department regularly posts dates and times when links to new appointments are available, but as vaccine seekers flood the page, filling hundreds of slots within minutes, the web Sites often crash.

Meanwhile, Mays and others continue to hunt for vaccinations as local, state and federal officials catch up to stem the spread of this often misunderstood disease.

And with the world’s largest Black Pride event coming up in Atlanta in a few weeks, the outbreak — so far — has disproportionately affected black gay and bisexual men in particular.

Insufficient Vaccine Orders and Delayed Declarations

The first monkeypox case of the current outbreak was confirmed in the UK on 6 May. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first monkeypox case in the United States on May 17 in Massachusetts. Georgia Public Department Health confirmed the state’s first monkeypox case of the 2022 outbreak on June 6.

However, as of July 22, Georgia has requested less than half of its Phase 1 and 2 allocation of approximately 14,000 JYNNEOS vaccine doses from the Strategic National Stockpile. according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With the exception of Georgia, all other top 10 states by case count had claimed more than 100% of their quota by that point.

By that time, the predominantly gay and bisexual men affected by the outbreak had already searched metropolitan Atlanta county health departments and nonprofits for vaccines, but they were empty. rice field.

Nancy Nydam, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health, told WABE that she had not previously requested a full quota because she wanted to stagger shipments to local providers, who said they had limited vaccine storage. Nydam added that the GDPH had requested a full allocation from the national stockpile as of July 27.

Exacerbating the problem is the lack of monkeypox vaccines available at the federal level, which many public health experts have pointed the problem at to the Biden administration. The ministry was late in requesting that large stocks of vaccines it already possessed be bottled for distribution. according to A senior government official told the New York Times.

The Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on August 4. The World Health Organization issued a similar declaration almost two weeks ago. This declaration frees up additional funding and flexibility and raises awareness of the issue.

“For nearly three months, STI clinics have faced the front lines of this outbreak alone, keeping communities safe without the resources needed to adequately treat patients, prevent further infections, and obtain adequate vaccines. We have been fighting to keep it,” said NCSD Executive Director David, Harvey said in a statement. “HHS’ declaring a public health emergency was the right thing to do and we commend them for their actions. It’s about time.”


Daniel Driffin, co-founder of the HIV nonprofit THRIVE SS and PhD candidate in public health at Georgia State University, said: (Photo credit: Daniel Driffin)

Event organizers and public health experts concerned about racial disparities

Each Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands of people from around the world flock to Atlanta for the Atlanta Black Pride. Attendees can be found that weekend at festivals in Piedmont Park and at workshops and parties around town.

But the disproportionate impact of the monkeypox epidemic on black gay and bisexual men has made Atlanta’s Black Pride organizer Tyai Green “extremely concerned.” As of Aug. 10, Georgia had reported 775 cases of monkeypox in him, according to GDPH. Nearly all of these cases are gay and bisexual men, and more than 80% are black.

“We are the largest Black Pride in the world and it can get out of hand for the Black LGBT community,” Green said of the outbreak. Failure to do so could result in catastrophic damage.”

Green said there wasn’t enough outreach to local black gay and bisexual men from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health about testing, treatment and vaccines until early August. It is

“What we’ve discovered is that information is key to prevention,” he said. “We don’t want COVID to repeat itself.”

Daniel Driffin is the co-founder of the Atlanta-based HIV nonprofit THRIVE SS and a PhD candidate in public health at Georgia State University. He said the demographic of monkeypox outbreaks exposed the racial inequalities that exist in health care.

“It is a farce and a crime for more than 80% of the victims to be black,” he said. “Black Gay Pride is approaching Atlanta and the local health board has [the] Public health departments, community organizations, and Black Pride vendors should convene now to conduct pop-up virus tests for monkeypox, COVID-19, HIV, and hepatitis C. Similar efforts are needed for vaccination facilities. ”

“We can and should do better,” he added.

Monkeypox is rarely fatal, but Ralph Mayes said the outbreak, the people most affected, and the government’s response evoke early memories of another infection.

“For LGBTQ people, the collective response of our community to this moment is a generation lost through government inaction in the face of the AIDS public health crisis that disproportionately affected gay and bisexual men. “So this is something that certainly carries additional weight for us.”


Monkeypox vaccination at the Mass Immunization Clinic at the DeKalb County Board of Health North DeKalb Health Center in Chamblee on Friday 5 August 2022. (Dean Hesse/Decaturish)

More dose on the way to Georgia

According to Nydam, the Georgia Department of Public Health has received and distributed all Phase 1 and Phase 2 allocations of approximately 14,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine. But this is because he is two doses (four weeks apart), so he can only cover about 7,000 people.

The Phase 3 allocation is approximately 34,000 doses and will be available in the next 4-6 weeks. But the Department of Health and Human Services has allowed GDPH to immediately order up to 40% of its quota, or about 13,600 doses, Nydam said. These doses have been received and distributed to health departments and community-based organizations statewide.

GDPH will be able to order about 10,000 more doses this week. They recommend that people at highest risk of the disease contact their local health department for testing and vaccine availability.

The governors of New York, California, and Illinois (three of the six states with the highest number of monkeypox cases in the United States) have declared states of emergency to combat the outbreak.

A spokesperson for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told WABE that the monkeypox outbreak is the governor’s “greatest concern,” but does not intend to declare a state of emergency at this time.

“We cannot speak to the specific laws or needs of California or Illinois, or the laws or needs of other states that may or may not issue emergency declarations of this kind, but the new We can say that the declaration of a state of emergency does not require anything, we will do something for the people of Georgia that has not yet been done,” said Andrew Eisenour, deputy director of communications at Kemp.

Monkeypox 101

Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia Department of Public Health

What are the symptoms? rashes on or near the genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth; fever; chills; swollen lymph nodes; fatigue;

How long do symptoms last? Symptoms usually begin within 3 weeks after exposure and usually last 2-4 weeks.

how does it spread? through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact with monkeypox rashes, crusts, or bodily fluids of a monkeypox patient; objects, fabrics (clothes, bedding, towel), and touching surfaces. Contact with respiratory secretions.

Is it a sexually transmitted disease? Monkeypox is not considered an STI, but sex is one way of transmission.

Does it only affect certain people based on their sexual orientation or race? No, anyone can get monkeypox.

How can I prevent it? Avoid close skin contact with anyone who has a monkeypox-like rash. Avoid contact with objects or materials used by monkeypox patients. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Where can I get the vaccine? There are local and national vaccine shortages, check with your local county health department for availability. You don’t have to be a county resident to get the vaccine, but priority is currently being given to those most affected by the outbreak so far.Positive Impact Health Centers, A Vision 4 Hope, AID Atlanta Community-based organizations such as are also excellent resources.

What should I do if I think I have monkeypox? Stay home and call your healthcare provider or local health department for additional guidance. Testing for monkeypox can only be done if a person has a rash, bumps, or sores. A positive test result will require isolation until the rash has completely healed, sloughed off, and a new layer of skin has formed. This may take up to 2-4 weeks.

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