Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Orange County Skipped Again in Latest Round of Monkeypox Vax

As monkeypox cases continue to rise across New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Department of Health announced late yesterday afternoon that they will distribute a third round of vaccinations to several counties. Orange County still will not receive any doses, although the CDC states there is an “ample” supply.

As of yesterday, there are now 679 confirmed monkeypox cases across New York State. The areas include New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, Albany, Monroe, Erie, Chemung, Topkins, and St. Lawrence Counties.

The latest round of doses will be divvied up among several areas, including Westchester, Erie, Monroe, and Saratoga Counties, as well as Long Island.

The first round was distributed to Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan and Saratoga Counties, as well as Long Island. The second round was distributed to Westchester and Saratoga Counties, as well as Long Island.

Saratoga County received doses during all three rounds, but no cases have been reported. In contrast, Orange County is surrounded by many counties with active cases but has not received any doses.

“New York continues to face a disproportionate number of monkeypox cases,” the governor warned. She explained that the State is receiving an allocation directly from the federal government and deciding where to distribute them. New York City is receiving its own doses directly from the feds and is not included in the statewide distribution.

The Department of Health called it an “equitable distribution of vaccine, and as it has since Phase 1, eligibility remains focused on individuals with known or likely exposure in areas with the highest number of cases.”

Three weeks ago, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated, “There is an ample supply of ACAM2000,” which is one of the two monkeypox vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The other vaccine is known as JYNNEOS.

According to the CDC, a person is considered fully vaccinated around two weeks after receiving the second shot of HYNNEOS and four weeks after receiving ACAM2000.

According to State health officials, anyone can get monkeypox. It is primarily spread through close, physical contact between people. Information from previous outbreaks around the world indicate that elderly New Yorkers, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant people, and children under 8 years of age may be at heightened risk for severe outcomes.

New York State residents can sign-up for the text campaign by texting “MONKEYPOX” to 81336 or “MONKEYPOXESP” for texts in Spanish. Residents will be able to provide their zip code to opt-in to location-based messaging, if they choose.

It is still unknown when Orange County will receive part of this “ample” supply.

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