PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced that anyone in Philadelphia who believes that they are more likely to be exposed to monkeypox should get vaccinated as soon as possible. They can get vaccinated at any of the walk-in sites listed on the Health Department’s website.
“Thanks to many partners throughout the LGBT community, we have now vaccinated more than 6,700 people,” said Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Frank Franklin. “Without their support, ideas, and frank conversations, we don’t believe we’d see so many people get vaccinated, nor see cases drop so low. Monkeypox is not over yet, but containing it is in sight.”
In Philadelphia, three-quarters of the 544 cases have been men, 88% have been between the ages of 20 and 49, and 60% of cases have been Black or African American. Previously, eligibility for the vaccine had been. These eligibility criteria were originally established to ensure that those who needed access to a very small allotment of vaccine the most could get it. People who were eligible were directed to submit information through the Health Department’s Vaccine Interest Form to receive an invitation to a vaccine appointment. The Vaccine Interest Form is now closed.
The Health Department has been vaccinating hundreds of people against monkeypox every week, and hopes to see vulnerable Philadelphians continue to get vaccinated in the coming weeks, particularly now that supplies of vaccine are no longer so limited. As part of the opening up of the eligibility criteria, the Health Department is now advertising new walk-in clinics for monkeypox vaccination. These clinics are being held at certain City Health Centers and Rite-Aid pharmacies. The Health Department is actively working to expand the number of locations where people can get free access to the monkeypox vaccine. In addition to these sites, the Health Department is looking forward to setting up more monkeypox vaccine clinics in partnership with local community organizations, some through the City’s recent grant awards.
The number of cases of monkeypox in Philadelphia has been steadily dropping since mid-August. Only a handful of cases are being identified per week now. While this means that the threat of monkeypox has lessened, it is still a threat and those who may be at risk are strongly encouraged to seek out vaccine.