Dallas County, Texas – The number of new monkeypox cases is on the rise nationwide, and so is the case in the North Texas area. As of Friday, July 23, the latest information from local health officials shows that there were a total of 52 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Dallas County area.
Currently, the best weapon against the disease remains the monkeypox vaccine, but the low number of available vaccines makes it hard for those interested to schedule an appointment for vaccination. Dallas County confirmed that a total of 100 vaccines were shipped this week and 300 more were ordered from the federal government, but it remains unclear when that batch will be shipped.
Monkeypox vaccines are currently given to people who have been in contact with someone infected with monkeypox. According to the local health officials, the vaccine works best if administered four days after the first symptoms. The vaccine might be given after that period, but it won’t be that effective in preventing sickness.
Due to the very limited supply, the vaccines are currently given only to those who have been in contact with people infected with monkeypox or those who test positive. Local residents who are interested in getting vaccinated against monkeypox might have to wait months before the vaccine becomes available for everyone.
Globally, only one Danish company produces this particular vaccine, which is the main reason for the low supply worldwide.
As of Friday, a total of 183 monkeypox cases had been reported statewide. Nearly 90 of those cases are in the North Texas area.
Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, says simply the supply of doses coming from the federal government is limited.
“We hope to get more,” he said. “And it’s happening nationwide in difficulty in getting vaccines, and we are all anxious to get more. “It’s unfortunate that we have had limited vaccine. We are trying to prioritize those who have the highest risk,” Dr. Huang said.
On Saturday, the World Health Organization has activated its highest alert level for the growing monkeypox outbreak, declaring the virus a public health emergency of international concern.