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While monkeypox cases are dwindling, racial disparities are growing across the country

Nashville Metro Public Health Department host monkeypox vaccine event
Posted at 4:40 AM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 08:30:35-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — New recommendations have come down from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on who should roll up their sleeve to get the monkeypox vaccine.

Right now U.S. officials are considering broadening recommendations because of their recommendation. The CDC wants to include many men with HIV or those recently diagnosed with other sexually transmitted diseases to get vaccinated against the virus.

Driving the discussion is a study released last week showing that a higher-than-expected share of monkeypox infections are in people with other sexually transmitted infections.

Dr. John T. Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC's monkeypox outbreak response, said the report represents a “call to action.”

Currently, the CDC recommends the vaccine to people who are in close contact with someone who has monkeypox as well as men, transgender, or a gender-diverse person who has sex with men.

The good news is the number of cases around the country is dwindling. However, racial disparities are growing.

According to the latest data available, Black people are making up a growing percentage of infections — nearly 38% during the final week of August. In the early weeks of the monkeypox outbreak, Black people made up less than a quarter of reported cases.

Latinos are also disproportionately infected, making up roughly a third of infections.

That trend means that public health messaging and vaccines are not effectively reaching those communities, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

On Monday, September 12, the Metro Nashville Public Health Department is hosting a monkeypox vaccine event.

You have to sign up for a slot and meet the eligibility requirements. The Health Department is opening the event to those living with HIV. There are still several appointments available.

In Nashville, as of September 8, officials confirmed 108 presumptive cases of monkeypox reported. Forty-eight of those 108 cases have recovered and are no longer in isolation.

Five hundred thirty vaccines have been administered.

The Tennessee Department of Health keeps track of the number of cases in the state.