PHMDC responding to hundreds of monkeypox vaccine requests

MADISON, Wis. — With monkeypox now declared a public health emergency in the U.S., health departments across the country are hoping for more resources in curbing the outbreak including Public Health Madison & Dane County.

Health experts across the nation largely say they approve of the Biden administration’s decision to declare a public health emergency. Still, many argue the declaration should have come sooner as the nation now faces delays in ordering monkeypox vaccines in bulk.

“Right now we have as much vaccine as we can have and we’re just a little bit limited because the demand is outpacing the supply,” said Morgan Finke, the communications coordinator for PHMDC.

PHMDC is just one of many health departments across the nation working to administer as many monkeypox vaccines as possible. After announcing an additional 75 vaccine appointments late Friday afternoon, department employees are still working to respond to hundreds of requests for a slot this week.

“We will return every message that we receive,” Finke said. “Regardless of whether we have that vaccine appointment available at that moment, we’ll return your call.”

RELATED: New Dane County monkeypox clinics struggle to keep up with demand

Finke said it’s not unlikely spots will fill up as soon as Monday night. Regardless, health officials are urging eligible and interested people to continue seeking a vaccine, even if it means having to wait a bit longer for appointments.

“We have a supply, but it’s limited and we need to use it for the highest risk people, and so that’s what’s happening right now,” said Dr. Dan Shirley, the medical director for infection prevention at UW Health. “We are dispersing it to give it to people who have contact with known monkeypox.”

As of Friday, 26 cases of monkeypox are confirmed in Wisconsin and 77 monkeypox vaccine doses have been administered in Dane County. The ultimate goal is to vaccinate all who are eligible and at risk, but that’s difficult for health departments to achieve when only 150 vaccines are delivered each week.

“There is one small manufacturer in Denmark that’s making vaccines for the whole world,” said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. “There is a very limited capacity.”

The delay is expected to last until at least September. In the meantime, health officials are urging people to stay patient, stay aware, and stay safe. For updates on the latest monkeypox case count, vaccine eligibility requirements, and dose availability in our area, click or tap here.