NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After averaging 12 vaccine doses a day for weeks, on Monday, the Metro Public Health Department was able to give out about 300 monkeypox vaccines to eligible people.
“Initially, the good news was we didn’t have very many cases,” said Metro Public Health Interim Chief Medical Director Dr. Gill Wright III. “The bad news was because we didn’t have very many cases we weren’t getting very much vaccine. Now that we have unfortunately gotten more cases, we are getting more and more vaccines available all the time.”
However, while the vaccines came to Nashville as cases were declining, demand for it remained high with appointments booked up for the city’s first large vaccination event.
“Initially, we were seeing cases increase or kind of double for three to four weeks, we had an increase again last week but it wasn’t a doubling,” Wright said.
William Townley III was a part of the Monday event. He said the shot felt like a “light prick” and the whole process was smooth.
“[The] vaccine only took a couple of minutes but if they actually caught the disease it can last for weeks, so I would just say be precautions,” Townley said after receiving his first dose of the two-dose sequence.
Wright said a case can be considered “active” for two to four weeks and while most people only develop a dozen or so lesions, images in medical books and circulating around social media show how painful a monkeypox case may be.
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“I’ve seen worst-case scenarios on the internet and social media and that kind of influenced me to just go get the vaccine,” Townley said.
Wright says they will continue to offer the monkeypox vaccine and are in the process of setting up clinics with local groups.
According to the department, people eligible for the vaccine are those who are known contacts of a monkeypox case, people who know their sexual partner had monkeypox in the past 14 days, those who had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days, and men who have sex with men, transgender persons, gender non-binary persons or gender nonconforming persons who answer “yes” to one of the following in the past 90 days:
- Had multiple sex partners or anonymous sex
- Been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
- Are living with HIV
- Received PrEP for HIV
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