SF's Latinx residents disproportionally impacted by monkeypox; community leaders demand resources

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ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Saturday, July 23, 2022
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Despite Latinos making up 15% of San Francisco's population, the latest monkeypox data shows that 30% of infections in the city are among this group.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Despite Latinx making up 15% of San Francisco's population, the latest monkeypox data shows that 30% of infections in this city are among this group.

"For us that is another alarm that is sounding in the community that we are responding to," said Ivan Corado-Vega, Latino Task Force manager.

For over two years, the Latino Task Force gained the communities trust with COVID testing and vaccinations.

As the monkeypox virus continues to spread disproportionately among LGBTQ Latinos, the hope is to begin vaccinating at their COVID sites.

RELATED: LGBTQ activists call on Biden to address the rapid rise in monkeypox cases

"It's disheartening, it is a call to action but because we did well in our response to COVID we have the infrastructure to do well to respond to how monkeypox is affecting our community," said Corado-Vega.

The Latino Task Force is asking San Francisco's Department of Public Health to give them monkeypox vaccines, but the supply is still limited.

"We also have undocumented population in our community and sometimes they just don't want to speak out and they don't want to reach out for help," said Shalom Bandi of health committee Latino Task Force.

San Francisco's AID's Foundation CEO is advocating to not only increase monkeypox vaccination among the Latinx community but also testing and treatment.

VIDEO: Monkeypox: Man recovering from virus describes symptoms, experience; doctor answers questions

"In public health crisis we need to be ensuring that we are using the appropriate equitable lens to ensure that information, education and awareness is available in multiple languages," said Tyler TerMeer, PhD, chief executive officer at San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Their waitlist for the monkeypox vaccine is now over 5,000 people. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman criticized the government's response to the crisis comparing it to the delayed response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

"They seem to have done the bare minimum, being dragged each step of the way in what turned out to be a woefully inadequate response where we have significant community spread," said Supervisor Mandelman.

Latest San Francisco Department of Public Health data says: "On July 22, 2022, SFDPH reported an additional 56 monkeypox cases, bringing the total number of cases in San Francisco residents to 197. These include both probable cases, as well as cases that are confirmed as monkeypox through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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