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CDC says there's enough monkeypox vaccine for the people who need it most

KEYE Austin 8/29/2022 Adela Uchida
© Provided by KEYE Austin

There's encouraging news coming from the Biden administration about the fight against monkeypox -- Friday, announcing that there is enough vaccine for the people most at risk for monkeypox. There are more than 17 thousand confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US today, 118 of them in Travis County.

It's been a slow and steady rise locally.

Today, the Biden administration announced there is enough vaccine to go around for those who need it most. That's been key to fighting it here in Austin. “We continue to request more vaccine. as soon as receive it we either distribute it to local partners,” said Ashley Hawes, an epidemiologist with Austin Public Health. “We are making sure we are vaccinating those who are positive or close contacts because as you know if someone is vaccinated 4 days or 4 to 14 days after contact, it can reduce the severity of their disease,” she said.

This weekend, the Kind Clinic is holding a vaccine clinic at the Rain on 4th nightclub on Sunday between 4 to 7 pm. “We know that this virus can seep out into other communities so we want to make sure we vaccinate and protect,” said the Kind Clinic’s Sandra Guerra.

ALSO| More people eligible for monkeypox shot; where to find one

Austin Public Health says the guidelines for who can get vaccinated have been expanded. It now includes people who have had close contact, men or transgender women who have had anonymous sex partners, anyone who has been diagnosed with STDs in the last year, health care workers, and more. “The majority are men who have had some sort of sex with men or sexual encounters however we have had different kinds of cases across the country and some of them are female and children,” Hawes said.

Now that college students have returned for the fall semester, APH s working with universities to get the word out. One reason is because of the different ways it can spread.

“It's becoming stigmatized when it really shouldn't be because it's close contact with your skin and that can be any variety of ways including hugging,” said Hawes.

Meanwhile, while there's good news about vaccine supply, public health experts say some communities aren't getting enough, like the Black community. The CDC says about a third of cases in the US are Black -- but just 10 percent of the vaccine doses distributed so far have gone to Black people.

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