Slow rollout of monkeypox vaccine, but state DPH says more shots are on the way

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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CHAMBLEE, Ga. (CBS46) - Georgians are suddenly scrambling to protect themselves against monkeypox, which is now popping up in women and children. But so far, vaccines are limited and tough to find.

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s chief medical officer can’t give a definitive timeframe, but say more vaccines are on their way to Georgia. Meanwhile, people waiting to sign-up for the vaccine are growing frustrated.

First COVID, now monkeypox. Frontline workers say they’re tired and worried. A bank teller in North DeKalb, who didn’t want to be identified says she started wearing her mask again.

“I just put it back on because of the increase in COVID and monkeypox. And then working with the public. You just don’t know who’s in front of you and what they have,” she said.

A fear emboldened by the news of Georgia’s first case of monkeypox in a woman. The announcement Tuesday coming just days after a child in California was diagnosed and an infant in Washington DC. The World Health Organization is calling the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The White House is also poised to declare a public health emergency.

Vaccine supply is limited and limited to only men who have sex with men, a community most at risk for this rare disease. A vaccination clinic slated for Friday in DeKalb County was booked within minutes of being announced Wednesday morning.

“We beg and plead for everyone’s patience. Not everyone needs the monkeypox vaccine right now. So as soon as we are able to provide more vaccines to the public, we will certainly do that,” said Eric Nickins of DeKalb Board of Health.

Georgia Department of Public Health has distributed 6,000 vaccines so far to local health departments in metro-Atlanta. DPH says they’re doing all they can to secure more vaccines from the federal government.

“We’re hoping that there will be more appointments that will be available in the coming day to coming weeks so that we can really increase the number of individuals who are there. We really want to be able to get people who need to be vaccinated, vaccinated,” said Alexander Millman, chief medical officer at Georgia Department of Public Health.

There has been a lot of criticism about the federal response to this outbreak. Many say it’s too slow. But now, after weeks of delays, the federal government announced on Wednesday they have another 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine ready for distribution.

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