People urged to get vaccinated against monkeypox as supply opens up, UCSF doctor says

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Saturday, August 20, 2022
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With monkeypox vaccine supply opening up, UCSF Infectious Disease Dr. Peter Chin-Hong urges people to get vaccinated

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Race Cooper was the first person in line at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Friday morning.

His goal: to get a monkeypox vaccine.

"I figured if I was going to be going to any events, it would be safer for me to make sure I have this vaccine," Cooper said.

But after weeks of long lines and a very limited supply of vaccines, some local doctors say they're beginning to see signs of a dip in demand -- a potentially worrying sign.

RELATED: Santa Clara Co. now administering up to 5x more monkeypox vaccines with new injection method

"We're not even close to what we expected the numbers should be for those to get immunized," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, infectious disease expert at UCSF.

He says the Bay Area has received more vaccines in recent weeks and many counties are also trying new methods to expand supply.

But, Chin-Hong worries, many people haven't received their shot yet simply because they still think not enough are available.

"People are afraid that they would go line up, take time off work and not get it, based on the experience recently that there weren't enough vaccines," he said.

While the majority of people infected in the current outbreak have been men who have sex with other men, the virus can infect anyone.

RELATED: Monkeypox SF Bay Area update: WHO says number of cases worldwide jumped 20% in past week

Chin-Hong worries that unless the spread is brought under control, there is a risk of having monkeypox become an endemic disease among the wider population.

"Time is money when we think about controlling an outbreak. So that's why I'm a little bit nervous," Chin-Hong said.

That's why he's calling on city and statewide leaders to increase outreach to those most at risk, expanding accessibility to make it as easy as possible for everyone.

"It's not really everywhere like the COVID vaccines were. They're only at certain locations," Chin-Hong said.

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