Philadelphia launches monkeypox tracker; vaccine in limited supply

Due to limited supply of the vaccine, Philadelphia health officials are limiting shots to those who may have been exposed.

Corey Davis Image
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

The vaccine is in extremely limited supply across the country as cases continue to rise and health departments release more information about the virus.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has launched a monkeypox tracker on its website showing the latest number of infections in the city as well as available vaccine.

The vaccine is in extremely limited supply across the country as cases continue to rise and health departments release more information about the virus.

The federal government has given Philadelphia 2,625 doses and so far 61% of that has been used, according to the city's health department.

Officials said the federal government has promised 6,020 doses, which the CDC indicated will be allocated in three waves depending on the status of the outbreak.

Cases are climbing and supply is extremely low, but experts said they believe it's still possible to slow down the spread.

"With excellent data, with excellent contact tracing, with great case investigation, and with widespread access to vaccine, we might be able still to get in front of this. But the window is closing," said Anne Rimoin, Ph.D., Epidemiologist, UCLA Fielding School Of Public Health.

RELATED: Monkeypox: Everything you need to know about symptoms, spread, treatment and vaccines

As of Tuesday morning, the CDC monkeypox tracker shows there are 5,811 cases nationwide.

New York City is now the epicenter of the outbreak with 1,092 reported infections.

As of Monday, Aug. 1, health departments in the Delaware Valley are reporting 161 cases in Pennsylvania, 82 in Philadelphia, 155 in New Jersey, and five in Delaware.

Due to the extremely limited supply of the vaccine, Philadelphia health officials are limiting shots to those who may have been exposed.

The Chester County Health Department says there has been one case of monkeypox in their county. They say testing and vaccines are available. Chester County has roughly 100 doses of the vaccine with more supply expected. As in Philadelphia, the vaccine is mostly limited to those who have been exposed and will be determined on a case by case investigation.

In Delaware County, there have been fewer than 10 cases of monkeypox reported to date, Delaware County Health Department Director Melissa Lyon said.

Lyon said the DCHD has received a small allocation of Jynneos vaccine that is administered to eligible individuals that have been identified, in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, as having a high-risk exposure to monkeypox.

All Delaware County residents that have been identified as eligible for Jynneos have received it, according to Lyon. As the opportunities to expand access to vaccine improves, the Delaware County Health Department will participate in those efforts in collaboration with the state's health department.

Montgomery County officials tell Action News, there are five confirmed cases as of Tuesday.

"Our Office of Public Health has received a limited supply of vaccine to date and continues to prioritize individuals who have been exposed," Montco officials said.

They say if an individual has been exposed to someone with a confirmed diagnosis, or believe that they are at high risk for having been exposed, and is not showing symptoms of Monkeypox, they can contact their health care provider or the Office of Public Health directly for assessment of eligibility for vaccination. If an individual is showing symptoms of Monkeypox, then they should contact their health care provider or the Office of Public Health for support with accessing a test and treatment.

Infections nationwide have been mainly within the LGBTQ community and men who have sex with other men, but experts stress the outbreak could have started anywhere and that anyone can get it. Experts say monkeypox is not an STI.

"Anyone out there can get infected as the virus can spread from close contact, including skin-to-skin contact," said Dr. Alok Patel of Stanford Children's Health.

RELATED: 5 things to know about monkeypox and skin: Analysis

So far, four children in the U.S. are known to be infected with monkeypox, according to the CDC.

Medical experts said symptoms such as headaches, fever, and painful blisters usually go away, but the CDC warns that those at risk of developing serious illness include kids under 8 and people with compromised immune systems.

For now, the CDC said to prevent infection, avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who may have a rash that looks like monkeypox. Also, don't share things like utensils or towels.

The Philadelphia health department will be able to make the vaccine available to a wider range of people as more shots become available.