CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Monday to help coordinate a statewide response.
Declaring the state a “disaster area” allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to better coordinate with other state agencies and the federal government on vaccine distribution and disease prevention.
Illinois currently has the 3rd highest number of cases in the United States, according to the governor’s office.
As of Friday, there were 330 cases of monkeypox in Chicago, where the focus continues to be to get vaccinated to those at higher risk, despite low supplies.
TPAN in Edgewater had 100 doses of monkeypox vaccine and they were quickly tallied up on Monday. People were queuing before the clinic even opened.
“I don’t want to put anyone I love at risk,” Carlos Alfaro said. “If I catch the virus I can bring it home, so that’s a major concern for me.”
“I think the LGBT community talks more about illnesses, but that said,” Luis Castello said, “I think we all have to learn from our community. And everyone, no matter who you are, you have to be careful. “
Chris Mooney lives in the South End of Chicago, but came to the North End after doing his own research to find a vaccine.
“Really, a lot of the clinics and places offering the vaccine were on the north side,” Mooney said, “and then to figure out, do you have to make an appointment, is it walk-in, first come, first served ?”
In Hyde Park, the Center for HIV Elimination has carried out outreach activities and continues to do so with its mobile unit to try to share information with those who cannot easily access monkeypox vaccination clinics , especially those with weakened immune systems.
“Because their immune system might not be the healthiest to respond to that,” said Noel Green, outreach manager at the Center for HIV Elimination. “Ensuring they are aware before they are prepared and vaccinated before they are introduced is essential to their survival.”
The center plans other awareness and vaccination activities depending on the availability of vaccines.
Full statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady
“This emergency declaration brings increased and needed attention to the outbreak of Monkeypox (MPV) we are seeing here in Chicago, in our state and across the country. Since the beginning of this outbreak, the Department of Public Health of Chicago is working diligently with clinical and community partners to educate and vaccinate residents at increased risk and we will continue to do so.Ultimately, however, we need more support from the federal level to fully respond. to the threat that MPV poses to our city. We hope this statement joins a chorus of others across the country and encourages the rapid increase and distribution ofvaccines. This declaration will allow the state to use emergency supply powers and directly involve other state agencies, such as the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), in the response. statewide. Chicago does not need a separate emergency declaration because we are covered by the state’s, plus we already have a local emergency procurement process; a strong local distribution network; and a diverse group of clinical and community partners working to educate and vaccinate Chicagoans at increased risk.”
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