Metro Health reports high demand for monkeypox vaccine

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The Metro Department of Public Health reported 24 new cases of monkeypox in Davidson County last week.

This brings the confirmed total of suspected cases to 52.

MPHD said 13 of the 52 cases have recovered and are no longer in solitary confinement.

As the numbers continue to rise, with the CDC reporting 99 cases in the state on Wednesday, some Nashvillians have said the lack of access to vaccines is frustrating.

“I’ve actually heard about it via social media,” said resident Justin Shaw.

Shaw requested an Instagram post to find out the vaccine was available in Nashville. The first day the health department started administering it, she called.

“I finally left them a voice message,” he said. “Within a couple of days, they answered me and you know the appointment has been made.”

Now he has a dose, but it’s not the same for everyone who believes they are eligible, trying to get the vaccine.

“Right now, our appointments are sold out until the end of September. The interest in the vaccine has been incredible, ”said Rachel Franklin, director of the Office of Communicable Diseases and Emergency Preparedness at Metro Health.

He continued: “There are 12 appointments [a day]. We have a full-time designated monkeypox vaccinator. Each appointment lasts 30 minutes and then our sexual health clinic also distributes vaccines to those regulars who only see for other suitable appointments.

Metro Health began administering the vaccine on August 4 and had administered 217 doses as of Wednesday.

Franklin said the other reason for the low number of appointments was the low inventory of vaccines that were initially assigned.

Metro Health also claimed to have kept at least 20% of the inventory set aside for exposure cases.

“We didn’t have the financial resources like we did for COVID, where we were able to bring many additional staff members. Meetings have been canceled. Room availability was open. We don’t have that with monkeypox, “Franklin said.” Everything we’ve done so far has been adopted with our in-house staff with our in-house willingness. We’re expanding our workforce to focus on monkeypox. Those people I’m on board now and on board next week.

The rate at which Metro is receiving weapon hits may change soon. This is because the new guidelines will split vaccines to extend supply.

Up until this week, the 0.5 ml Monkeypox vaccine was given as a subcutaneous injection in the back of the arm. Now, health departments will use 0.1ml of the vaccine as an intradermal injection, into the first layer of skin, so five people can be vaccinated per vial.

It also takes two doses, 28 days apart, to be fully vaccinated.

Franklin said they will use this week and next week to train nurses and medical staff on intradermal injections and hope to begin intradermal administration the week of August 29.

“Another thing we want to do once we’re comfortable with the intradermal is to create delivery points with those targeted partners who can lead our higher-risk individuals to get the vaccine,” Franklin said. “So it could very well be that someone who has an appointment here at the health department at the end of September could, if eligible, go to one of these capsules at one of our partner sites to get the vaccine sooner.”

At the state level, Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary-Margaret Fill said she worked and prepared for monkeypox cases in Tennessee for several months, well before the first case was identified.

The Tennessee Department of Health has received 5,762 vials of the vaccine with approximately 800 administered so far.

“We are pushing the vaccine into our regional and metropolitan health departments based on a combination of the number of monkeypox cases in their jurisdiction and the size of the underlying population,” said Dr Fill.

He added that the state discovered on Tuesday it was eligible to request another 1,000 vials.

“It’s a little different than what we expected because they’re now basing the allocation on getting, hopefully, four to five doses of vaccine per vial by switching to the alternative dosing regimen.”

Tennessee was not included in the first vaccine shipment between June 29 and July 8 because the first case was not reported until July 7.

Dr Fill said they took all the vaccines offered to them.

“So far we have drawn everything we are eligible to receive, but there is some sort of formal notification of how much we can receive and then we have to enter an officer asking for it to be sent to us and tell the federal government which sites we want it to be sent to,” said Dr. Fill.

With manpower problems on the subway trying to get the vaccine out, the WSMV asked the state if any funds or aid could come from the federal government.

“We have heard from our federal partners that some of our COVID funds could also be used for the response to monkeypox,” said Dr Fill. “We are still waiting for the behind-the-scenes details about it, but recognizing that there is still money from COVID that many jurisdictions have not fully spent and will likely be able to access some of this to support the monkeypox response as well. “

If you are interested and eligible for the vaccine, as well as a resident of Davidson County, you can call the Notifiable Disease Line at the 615-340-5632 Subway Health Department.

Other counties with local health departments that fall under the TDH can call their health department.

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