HealthDay News — As monkeypox cases continue to climb worldwide, demands for vaccines to combat the virus are crashing the vaccine appointment system in New York City.
The city of more than 8 million people has been running out of supplies almost as soon as they arrive, the Associated Press reported. City health officials acknowledged the frustration over the limited vaccine supply and said they would create a more “stable appointment infrastructure” as vaccine supply increases.
Shortages and snags in vaccine availability are not just a problem in the nation’s largest city. In Baltimore, Jeff Waters asked his doctor to be vaccinated before he left for a trip to Europe, where cases have been rising. “They said ‘Sorry, we just don’t have them here,'” Waters told the AP. Weeks later Waters developed what he described as a “mild case” of the disease, which nonetheless involved intense headaches, chills, and a high fever.
Infections from monkeypox have now passed 1000 cases in the United States. Symptoms typically include fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. People who suffer from a more severe case may also develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that may spread to other parts of the body, including the genitals.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said commercial laboratories are developing tests for the virus, including the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis, which will be accepting samples from around the country for testing purposes as early as this week. “This will not only increase testing capacity, but also make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-laboratory networks,” Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC, said in a statement released earlier this week.
To date, New York City has administered nearly 7000 vaccinations, with thousands more waiting in the wings to get their inoculation, the AP said. By Wednesday, 336 people in the city had tested positive for orthopoxvirus, a category that also includes smallpox. That is a fourth more than the day before, per city data. Officials noted they believe all these new cases of orthopoxvirus to be monkeypox and said there are likely many more undiagnosed cases.