The supply will be given to the city, which will distribute to Harris County and other clinics. This comes after the nation promised to ramp up its response and provide more vaccines to every state in the U.S.
“Our goal is to stay ahead of this virus and end this outbreak. We have a strategy to deploy these additional vaccine doses in a way that protects those at risk and limits the spread of the virus, while also working with states to ensure equitable and fair distribution,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “These vaccines are the result of years of federal investment and planning.”
In addition to the more than 16,000 monkeypox vaccines coming to Houston, another 41,840 will be delivered to the state of Texas as a whole. It's unknown which cities are getting those vaccines.
On Thursday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking for additional vaccines.
"We're eager to vaccine at-risk populations before the virus spreads exponentially, rather than wait for exponential growth and then catch up like other jurisdictions have had to do," Hidalgo tweeted along with the letter sent to the CDC.
Right now, vaccines are available to two different groups:
- Group 1 — People who have had contact with someone with monkeypox and those who went to a venue where there was a high-risk exposure to the virus, whether skin-to-skin or sexual contact.
- Group 2 — Those at high risk of getting the virus, including those diagnosed with gonorrhea and early syphilis in the last three months. It also includes people who have attended or worked at a commercial sex venue in the last 21 days. This group also includes those on the HIV prevention medication, known as PrEP.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there have been 67 confirmed cases of monkeypox across the Houston area as of July 28. There have been 231 cases across Texas.