Additional monkeypox vaccines coming to Texas, why some say it’s not enough

HOUSTON – By the end of August, local universities will be welcoming students back, living in close quarters.

Public health experts are urging the administration to come up with a plan to contain the spread of monkeypox, all while local health departments don’t have enough of the vaccine.

As of Monday, Texas has 338 cases of monkeypox - 332 men and six women. The majority of the people are in their 20s and 30s. Everyone in contact with them is at risk of getting it.

People like Mitchell De La Garza in Spring, like many others, can’t get a vaccine to prevent infection.

“It’s worrying, especially since I’m in a part of the community that it’s primarily spreading in at the moment,” he said.

Local health departments in Houston and Harris County only had enough vaccines for 2,500 people. Montgomery County only had enough for 25.

Both counties told Mitchell he’s not within their borders.

“It feels like they dropped the ball because they had this nice lull period where people weren’t in school and where they could have tackled it right at the start, and instead, they’ve just been very slow to respond and schools about to start up again and then it will just amplify,” De La Garza said.

Rice University and the University of Houston both said on Monday that they have no formal plans yet to contain the spread when school goes back and students return to dorms at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the Department of State Health Services said they’ve ordered 16,700 more doses of the monkeypox vaccine to arrive this week. About 6,700 will come to Houston. They said they won’t be able to send more to Montgomery County, yet.