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Monkeypox vaccine in short supply as Florida cases surge


Dr. Ulyee Choe with the Florida Department of Health says until the state receives more doses only people who are considered to be at high risk for infection can get the shot.

Florida Department of Health officials say a monkeypox vaccine is in short supply in the state, despite a rising number of new cases. 

Florida has received about 25,000 doses of the vaccine from the White House, with an additional 10,700 doses requested.

Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Department of Health in Pinellas County, says until the state receives more doses, only people who are considered to be at high-risk for infection can get the shot.

The agency said it is prioritizing vaccines for counties with the most cases, as well as at-risk communities. That includes immunocompromised men who have sex with men.

According to the department, Florida has reported 208 cases, with the majority in Broward County.

“We are prioritizing close contacts of monkeypox cases that is probably the highest priority group,” Choe says. “This vaccine has been distributed to the county health departments as well as a lot of the providers.”

Choe also says testing is now more widely available so he is expecting to see more cases.

Monkeypox is transmitted by prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with sores, or with bed linens or clothes that have come in contact with sores.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and pains and a distinctive rash.

WHO again considers declaring global emergency

The Associated Press reports that the World Health Organization is convening its emergency committee to consider for the second time within weeks whether the expanding outbreak of monkeypox should be declared a global crisis.

Some scientists say the striking differences between the outbreaks in Africa and in developed countries will complicate any coordinated response and possibly deepen existing inequities between the rich and poor.

While African officials say they are already treating the continent's epidemic as an emergency, experts elsewhere say the mild version of monkeypox in Europe and North America makes an emergency declaration unnecessary.

Yet while the United States, Britain, Canada and other countries have bought millions of vaccines, none have gone to Africa.