Jul 19, 2022 - News

More monkeypox vaccines coming to D.C. as cases and demand rise

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

D.C. has received 8,300 monkeypox vaccine doses, with 4,000 more arriving next week — but demand still far outstrips supply.

Driving the news: Mayor Muriel Bowser told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that D.C. needs 100,000 doses from the federal government in order to stay ahead of demand.

  • DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt yesterday told reporters that the city has been “very vocal” with the federal government about its needs.

Why it matters: D.C. has seen 122 cases of monkeypox as of last week, putting it among the top five jurisdictions with the highest number of cases. We're currently trailing behind New York, California, Illinois, and Florida.

  • There have been no reported deaths from monkeypox in D.C.

Of note: The 4,000 vaccines D.C. is receiving next week from the federal government are single doses, not the full two-dose regimen — which means the District must now plan on how to get second doses to people.

Be smart: Most of D.C.'s cases have been among men who have sex with other men, but the illness is not sexually transmitted and anyone can get it.

  • “This is not a disease of the LGBTQ+ community,” Nesbitt said at the press briefing Monday.
  • Officials have wrestled with how to frame public messaging amid concern that it could contribute to further stigma and falsely imply that monkeypox is limited to being spread among gay men, the Washington Post reports.

State of play: As the majority of cases are among gay and bisexual men, D.C. has concentrated its efforts on treatment and vaccine outreach within these communities.

  • The city has partnered with Whitman Walker, a clinic that serves people in the LGBTQ+ population, and Us Helping Us, which provides social service outreach to Black gay men.

By the numbers: About 2,600 people have received their first vaccine dose since appointments became available June 28. Of those doses, 136 went to people exposed to the illness. D.C. has identified 560 close contacts to prioritize for vaccination.

As of last week, more than 9,200 people have pre-registered for a vaccine appointment, with 5,400 of these registrants currently eligible for the shot. Anyone is allowed to register, but eligibility to actual receive a shot remains limited.

  • All eligible registrants as of Monday morning have received an invite to register for an appointment, DC Health says.

A majority of the cases have been among gay white men in their 30s.

  • Of those cases, the majority were aged 30-34, 63% were white, 24.5% were Black or African American, 96% were men, and 82% were people who identify as gay.

Go deeper: D.C. residents are encouraged to go to preventmonkeypox.dc.gov to pre-register for appointments and learn more about monkeypox.


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