monkeypox vaccine

‘It's Been Very Significant': High Demand for Monkeypox Vaccine in Conn.

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Demand has been intense for the monkeypox vaccine here in Connecticut. It’s been a week since the state launched a limited vaccination effort geared toward those most at risk of contracting the virus.

“It was very frustrating being in Connecticut and not having access to it,” said Scott Towers of Branford.

Towers finally received the monkeypox vaccine recently in Connecticut after previously seeing people in New York get the shot.

“It was a big relief, and I got my appointment that first week. But that was because I was calling literally a couple of minutes after the clinics had opened,” Towers said.

Across the country, the CDC now reports nearly 9,000 confirmed monkeypox cases, with 48 in Connecticut.

In the state, 15 primary sites started vaccinating those considered at high-risk last week.

“What’s the demand been like?” we asked.

“It's been very significant. Each day, we're getting 30 to 40 calls,” said Tyler Booth, InterCommunity Health Care vice president.

InterCommunity Health Care is giving out doses in Hartford. They’re already vaccinated 57 people and have screened about 160 people so far.

“We immediately went through all the vaccines that we had. We received another 50 [Monday] and we're holding those because the shot is actually a two-dose vaccination,” Booth said.

Now that it has been declared a public health emergency, will the "sluggish" response to monkeypox improve? "We still have woefully inadequate vaccine supplies for the gay male community," which has hit hard by the disease, says Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine at UC San Francisco. She is hopeful that with enough shots, the virus will be contained.

Staff said they’re just asking people to be patient as the state rollout ramps up and they hopefully receive more vaccines soon.

Another vaccinator – the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective – wrote on its website, that it had “reached capacity for the administration of the monkeypox vaccine” and would update when more appointments open.

Last week, the Public Health Department announced 800 doses would be going out initially and the priority would be men who have sex with men and others who meet certain requirements.

And the state has said the effort will increase.

“I just hope that soon there are more vaccines eligible to the overall population,” Towers said.

We did reach out to the Department of Public Health for comment but have not yet heard back.

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