Harris County Public Health, Local Health Authority discuss monkeypox virus, vaccine

Local doctors asking for more to be sent here ASAP

HOUSTON – The City of Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health held a joint press conference Friday.

On Thursday, officials announced there will be no new appointments for vaccines.

Both health departments are now administering the monkeypox vaccine since receiving a shipment from the Texas Department of State Health Services, but the supply of the monkeypox vaccine is limited.

DSHS sent 5,000 vaccines the Houston area, and since it’s a two-dose vaccine, only half that amount of people will actually get one.

The CDC said those eligible include: Someone in contact with those who have monkeypox and people with multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks.

City of Houston Dr. Janeana White said in the current situation, they will need more vaccines from the state as soon as possible.

“Individuals who are going through our epi-surveillance and contact tracing; vaccine is available and allocated for individuals who are potentially close contacts,” Dr. White said. “Then there’s additional consideration for individuals who are making appointments and so right now we will no longer accept appointments. We have appointments out for about another week but ... we have quickly communicated to both state and federal partners that we need a vaccine allocation to our jurisdiction with expediency.”

More vaccines won’t come from the state health department for at least another month, according to the Department of State Health Services.

Although the World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox to be a global public health emergency, the risk level remains low in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, cases continue to climb across the country.

As of July 27, the CDC reported 4,639 confirmed cases in 46 states. In Texas, the case count increased to 228 men and three women. Harris County accounted for 71 total cases: 58 in the city of Houston and 13 in the unincorporated area of the county, according to a release.

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