Emory epidemiologist: equitable vaccine distribution, stigma mitigation crucial to containing monkeypox outbreak

Doses of monkeypox vaccine at the DeKalb County Board of Health North DeKalb Health Center in Chamblee during a mass vaccination clinic on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Dean Hesse/Decaturish)

As monkeypox cases in the United States continue to rise, managing vaccine distribution, case containment and stigma surrounding the virus have compounded. On the Thursday edition of “Closer Look,” Dr. Jodie Guest, professor and vice chair of the department of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, discusses the viral outbreak.

Nationwide cases — which have surpassed 10,000 — have seen a consistent increase in the past months. Vaccination is currently available to a portion of the population, though medical officials hope for expanded availability in the coming months.

Dr. Guest cited equitable distribution of vaccines to those without technological access and the prevention of stigma against affected communities as a crux of outbreak mitigation.

“I think we when we see signs of something coming our way, we need to be more proactive and we need to be prepared … to put emergency preparedness in place really, really fast,” Guest said. “We need better infrastructure to get vaccines out. We need health departments ready to go with that. Ours were, but you can’t deliver vaccines when you don’t have [them].”