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San Diego County health officials hold town hall to discuss monkeypox outbreak with public

Posted at 6:49 AM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 17:46:33-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The vaccine supply, risk factors, and an overall county plan were among the topics of discussion during a town hall meeting on monkeypox in San Diego Thursday night.

One of the questions from the public was why it is so hard to get the vaccine for the virus.

"The number of doses that we requested is about a quarter of what we might need to immunize the population,” said County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric McDonald. “So, the supply is much, much lower than the actual demand. We’ve essentially prioritized them. So, we’re not giving vaccines out by on demand. We’re giving it by risk.”

But the county is waiting to hear from state public health officials on ways to expand the resources that they have.

On Tuesday, The White House announced a new FDA emergency use authorization which would allow for a different dosage process to stretch vaccine supplies out.

“So, the county has gone ahead ordered the needles and the supplies needed and we are making preparations. However, we are still waiting for the guidance from CDPH and CDC in determinations on how we would appropriate that vaccine,” said County Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Ankita Kadakia.

County health officials also brought up the county’s advocating at the state level for funding to help those who contract monkeypox, have to quarantine and aren’t able to work.

“While we have declared a national emergency, a state emergency and a local emergency, the same type of funding that was associated with COVID-19 hasn’t not yet been established for monkeypox,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

Other aspects like going to providers to see if you can get treatment measures and overall awareness of the virus were brought up in the town hall. Something that’s vital in combating this outbreak.

“There has to be collaboration because it’s the only way will stop this from getting bigger,” said Mikie Lochner, the HIV Planning Group Chair.

"As well as communication that needs to be open and honest and education. We need to educate the entire community about this outbreak and how to prevent it,” said Gus Hernandez, Senior Director of Communications & Marketing for San Diego LGBT Community Center.

The county is also encouraging people to sign up for it’s text alert system so people can stay up to date with the outbreak happening our region.