CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The number of people in Mecklenburg County infected with monkeypox nearly doubled in size to 33 individuals in the last week, according to the latest data from the county health department.
The waitlist to receive a vaccine, for which only a certain population is eligible, is long: More than 1,800 people who signed up for a monkeypox vaccine in Mecklenburg County are still waiting to receive one.
Questions about the availability and production of the monkeypox vaccine have popped up in recent weeks as people scramble to find a shot.
Does the U.S. have a stockpile of monkeypox vaccines?
Yes, the U.S. has a national stockpile of monkeypox vaccines.
WHAT WE FOUND
On July 28, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to allocate an extra 786,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine.
The doses are coming from the nation's stockpile of vaccines, according to DHHS.
Within DHHS, there is the Administration for Strategic Preparedness & Response. It's that department that manages and deploys the nation's stockpile of medical equipment and vaccines.
The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) "holds enough vaccine – both Jynneos and ACAM2000® – to vaccinate millions of Americans, if needed," according to ASPR.
But all of those vaccines are not currently in the U.S.
"They had a very small amount here in the United States because they were planning for a very, very small smallpox outbreak," Kinsley said. "And they had a much larger portion of it in Denmark."
Kinsley said in the last few weeks, federal health leaders have been pulling those monkeypox vaccines from the Denmark location and shipping them across the U.S.
"So it has been a bit of [a] logistics challenge for the federal government to do that," Kinsley said.
Within the state of North Carolina, DHHS is allocating the doses it receives from the federal government to a select number of local health departments.
"We allocated it out to essentially a handful of local health departments to create a regional access point," Kinsley said.
So not every county public health department has the monkeypox vaccine. However, those county public health leaders are coordinating with their counterparts to get the vaccine for patients in their area.
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