People lined up at a pop-up vaccination clinic in DC on Friday to get vaccinated against monkeypox, hoping to lessen the risk of contracting the infection. Dr Anthony Fauci says people should be aware, but they shouldn’t panic.
People lined up at a pop-up vaccination clinic in DC on Friday for the monkeypox vaccine, hoping to mitigate the risk of infection. Dr Anthony Fauci says people should be aware of the virus but not panic.
The federal government declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday to bolster the response to the outbreak that has infected more than 7,100 Americans. The announcement will free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which can cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body, The Associated Press reported.
This “everyone on deck” approach, Fauci said, will synergize all the different elements to respond to this “significant and serious outbreak.”
Fauci said he believes monkeypox can be controlled, and there are four reasons for that. First, testing has increased from 6,000 to 80,000 per week due to the participation of at least five commercial companies.
And what was originally 136,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine deployed was increased within days to more than 600,000, with the target of 1.1 million doses. Fauci said it’s still not as much as wanted or needed, but the process is accelerating.
Additionally, the process for health care providers to get TPOXXearly treatment for people with monkeypox has been expedited, allowing a doctor to get the drug quickly without going through many hurdles, Fauci said.
Finally, Fauci said there has been strong community outreach.
“Protect me as best I can”
Hazel Johnson, a DC resident, was one of the people who came to the pop-up vaccination clinic on Georgia Avenue NW. She discovered the clinic near her home and came to pick up one of the 300 vaccines the neighborhood offers at each vaccination site on Friday.
Johnson said she wasn’t concerned about monkeypox because she didn’t know anyone who had caught monkeypox in the DC area.
“But I’m going to protect myself as best I can so I don’t have to worry about it.” I have many trips to come. So I want to make sure I’m covered on all bases,” Johnson said.
Last month, DC reported the largest outbreak of monkeypox per capita in the nation. Currently, DC has 280 cases, according to the latest count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Johnson and several residents told WTOP’s DMV Download podcast that the district’s response to the monkeypox outbreak has been quite good.
DC resident George works in nightlife and said he has seen the news about monkeypox and vaccines, and feels positive about how DC has handled it, especially the availability of vaccines.
“It’s not, like, a big line like it was with COVID. It’s nice, there are different places. So far I approve,” George said, adding that pop-up clinics would be better and he hopes more days will be available.
Another person who declined to be identified said they tried to register online but the days available were limited and going to the pop-up clinic seemed like the ‘only way to get the shot’ .
Another person online Friday, Eddie, said the district had made a good effort to open the walk-in vaccination clinic. He is to some extent concerned about the epidemic, and that is why he is getting vaccinated.
“You never blow an emerging infection”
George said there was a lot of stigma on sex workers and people who work in nightlife when it comes to monkeypox. Fauci said pointing fingers is the “worst thing you can do”.
Monkeypox can be passed from person to person through direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It can also be spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, hugging, or having sex. the CDC said.
Last month, a child visiting DC was diagnosed with monkeypox. Another child in California also contracted it.
Fauci said five children were secondarily infected. “Does that mean every parent in the country should be terrified? No. Be careful, but don’t panic,” he said.
“You never blow on an emerging infection when you don’t know where it’s going yet. So you pay attention to it, follow it, and respond to it appropriately.
Luke Garrett and Megan Cloherty of WTOP contributed to this report.