SF 'explores' option of giving 1 dose of monkeypox vaccine for now amid short supply, mayor says

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ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Thursday, July 21, 2022
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San Francisco is officially the epicenter of monkeypox infections in California as the city explores giving one dose of vaccine.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is officially the epicenter of monkeypox infections in California with 141 confirmed cases.

According to CDC data, the Golden State has the second most confirmed cases in the country only behind New York.

San Francisco's Mayor London Breed said she's having flashbacks to the aids crisis, even though monkeypox is rarely fatal.

"During the AIDS crisis, San Francisco sadly was left on its own. We had to fight really hard to get resources in order to address this issue," said Mayor Breed.

RELATED: Monkeypox: Everything you need to know about origin, infection, vaccines, and treatment

On Wednesday, hundreds of people waited in line outside of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital hoping to get the monkeypox vaccine.

"Last week I showed up with a bunch of friends and we were turned away because there was a supply issue. Came back again and the same thing. I showed up at 6 a.m. today and there were already almost 200 people in line," said San Francisco resident Ben Ellsworth.

San Francisco's Aids Foundation said they have a waitlist of over 4,000 people who meet the criteria to get a monkeypox vaccine.

"This is an incredibly frustrating and infuriating moment where we are once again as members of the LGBTQ+ community facing a public health failure," said Tyler TerMeer, Ph.D., SF Aids Foundation CEO.

LIST: See open SF monkeypox vaccine sites here

Despite being the hot spot in the state, San Francisco's supply is limited. In a letter Mayor Breed asked the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to provide more resources to this city.

Luz Pena: "What is your plan to get more vaccines to San Francisco?"

Mayor London Breed: "Part of it is reaching out to the administration, we've already reached out to Xavier Becerra, this fall under his jurisdiction. The goal is to try and get. We made a request for 35,000 vaccines we estimate that we need about 70,000 vaccines but in the meantime but we are basically not even at 10,000."

The monkeypox vaccine is a two-dose vaccine. One option Breed said is to vaccinate people with one dose for now.

"Our goal is to do what is necessary and if it means people are partially vaccinated in order to get more people vaccinated that is something that the department of public health is definitely exploring," said Mayor Breed.

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

We asked UCSF's Dr. George Rutherford what the implications of this strategy could be.

"It's going to be less effective with a single dose than two doses but does that mean it moves from 100 percent effective to 99 percent effective or does it move from 80 percent to 40 percent. Those are the numbers that I can quote you," said Dr. Rutherford. "Complicated times call for complicated remedies."

People who get the first dose of the monkeypox vaccine are well protected after two weeks. The second dose should be taken four weeks after the first dose.

New York's health department is already vaccinating people with one dose of the monkeypox vaccine as they wait for second doses.

San Francisco's Department of Public Health has not confirmed if they will implement the same strategy here.

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