Jul 20, 2022 - News

Demand for monkeypox vaccines is rising in Texas

Total confirmed monkeypox cases, by state
Data: CDC; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

State health officials say Texas has enough monkeypox vaccines to meet demand, despite an uptick in confirmed cases and warnings from some health experts that parts of the state do not have enough resources or doses.

Driving the news: Monkeypox cases across the country continue to rise, and vaccine demand has outstripped supply, federal health officials warned last week.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials announced Friday that the agency has ordered an additional 2.5 million doses of monkeypox vaccines in response to the growing number of cases.

Zoom in: Austin Public Health has received 128 doses of the Jynneos vaccine — more than what was needed — and is administering it on a case-by-case basis due to the limited availability, an agency spokesperson told Axios.

Why it matters: Cases are spreading quickly, including in Travis County, where local officials last week reported at least nine confirmed and eight presumptive cases of the virus.

  • Plus, a case of monkeypox was confirmed within the University of Texas community, a spokesperson for University Health Services told The Daily Texan on Sunday.
  • The virus is now considered "community spread" in the county because positive cases have been reported among people with no recent history of travel.

Yes, but: Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Texas has enough vaccines available to meet the demand.

  • The Lone Star State has access to roughly 20,000 doses through the national stockpile, Van Deusen said.
  • Local health departments must request vaccines through the state health agency.
  • "With that larger amount of vaccine available now, and an increase in cases likely to increase in demand, we're looking at ways to ensure that process will continue moving efficiently and will get vaccines to the people who need it," Van Deusen added.

Catch up quick: Though the monkeypox outbreak outside endemic countries is "unprecedented" in its rate of human-to-human spread, the virus has been identified, isn't nearly as deadly, and there are potential vaccines and treatments already in existence, NIAID director Anthony Fauci recently told Axios.

  • "The challenge, now, is to obviously get a handle on the extent of this and the spread of this, and you do that by testing," Fauci says.
  • "The other challenge is to implement the countermeasures we already have. Like getting the vaccines to the people at risk and to make sure that we mobilize the vaccines we contracted to be made years ago," he adds.
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