SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– As the number of Monkeypox cases reaches nearly 9,000 across America, many people may find themselves wanting the vaccine.
But Dr. Nancy Yoon, Chief Medical Officer of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, said the supply to distribute vaccines isn’t available.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough vaccine right now,” Yoon said. “In an ideal situation, if we had enough vaccine for everybody who wanted it, we would be happy to distribute those.”
SGCHD initially received just 140 doses of the monkeypox vaccine, which would be enough to vaccinate 70 people. Yoon said the health department has applied for an additional 500 doses last week.
Due to the limited supply, SGCHD will only be distributing the vaccine to those who have either been exposed to the virus or live in a high-risk area. On top of that, being approved for the vaccine can only be approved following an investigation.
“We submit that information to the state and then the state let us know if we qualify or not,” Yoon said.
Springfield-Greene County Health said they’re responsible for more than just Springfield when it comes to distributing vaccinations.
“Keep in mind, we are a regional distributor,” Yoon said. “And so, not only Greene County, but also the surrounding counties in the Southwest Missouri region.”
Monkeypox is a virus that spreads through close contact with others. It can leave a person with among other things, a painful rash, either in a few spots or throughout the body. The White House said on Tuesday afternoon a change in how the vaccine is distributed will allow for up to five extra doses per vial, helping alleviate some of that shortage.
Dr. Yoon said to remember: anyone can get this virus.
“Anyone can get it, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation or age.”