Monkeypox vaccine limited to certain Tennesseans

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - With the monkeypox outbreak spreading worldwide, a vaccine is making it’s way to states across the country.

The CDC has reported 15 cases of monkeypox in Tennessee, with Metro Health saying 6 of them are from Davidson County.

“We don’t want people to panic, but we do want them to be aware,” Dr. Joanna Shaw KaiKai, infectious disease specialist at Metro Nashville Public Health, said. “We always advise if someone is feeling ill and you’re going to be in contact with that person, if you can avoid it, please try to.”

The national stockpile of monkeypox vaccine is limited and only reserved for people who came in close contact with a person infected with monkeypox, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

Health and Human Services data show of the nearly 2,400 vaccine doses allocated to Tennessee, 2,100 have been delivered.

Nearly half of the 310,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine have been shipped to California, Florida, New York and Chicago - places holding pop-up vaccine clinics and where more cases have been detected.

In Tennessee, Metro Health says vaccine clinics aren’t needed yet, but they’ll be keeping a close eye on any potential monkeypox spread.

“It’s not something we take for granted, that the public entrusts their health to us, their health and well-being. It is not a chore for us,” Dr. Shaw Kai Kai said. “Monkeypox outbreaks are not new but we know that this is probably the largest one and affecting about 75 countries globally so we want people to be aware of it.”

Monkeypox is typically considered milder and rarely fatal. The CDC warns that monkeypox could spread from person to person through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face communication or during intimate physical contact
  • touching items like clothing or linens that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids

Although infection may begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion before the development of rash, many of the cases associated with the 2022 outbreak have reported very mild or no symptoms other than rash, according to the MPHD.

For more information about monkeypox, click here.

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