With Georgia's monkeypox cases rising, vaccine demand outweighs supply

Monkeypox cases continue to increase in Georgia as the Department of Public Health expands distribution of a monkeypox vaccine to high-risk areas. 

Health officials have confirmed 93 cases of the virus in the state.

All are among men living in metro Atlanta, and the majority identify as men who have sex with men but experts stress that anyone who’s been in close contact with someone with monkeypox can become infected. 

The United States has nearly 1,500 total confirmed monkeypox cases.

States with the highest numbers of cases include New York, California, Illinois and Georgia, the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The CDC recommends vaccination for people who’ve been in close contact with someone with monkeypox or who are at high risk of exposure.

So far, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports it’s received enough vaccine from the Biden administration to treat around 1,500 individuals with Jynneos, a two-dose treatment administered 28 days apart.

In a statement, DPH acknowledged demand for monkeypox vaccine treatment outweighs supply, and the agency is prioritizing the vaccine for individuals at high risk of infection in Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton counties.

As more doses arrive in Georgia, the department says it plans to launch an online scheduling platform for the vaccine. It’s unclear when online scheduling will become available.

The Biden administration recently announced it’s working with several commercial laboratories to ramp up nationwide monkeypox testing.

“The ability of commercial laboratories to test for monkeypox is an important pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “This will not only increase testing capacity but also make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-laboratory networks.”

According to the CDC, monkeypox spreads through close, skin-to-skin contact or through sharing bedding or other items someone with monkeypox has touched.

The virus causes a distinctive rash that includes painful lesions and typically has an incubation period of around 1-2 weeks. It’s treatable with existing vaccines. 

DPH urges anyone who feels they may be eligible for a vaccine to contact a healthcare provider. 

For more information on monkeypox, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/epidemiology/acute-disease-epidemiology/monkeypox.