Second doses of monkeypox vaccine put on hold
MIAMI - As Florida surpasses 1,000 monkeypox cases, State Health Officials are putting second doses of the vaccine on hold so more first rounds of shots can be given.
Miami-Dade County just received 1,000 doses of the vaccine but under new Federal Guidelines, those doses will be divided up and used to vaccinate 5,000 people.
Starting Friday morning you can get vaccinated at a site on Miami Beach or at Tropical Park. Miami-Dade now has over 400 cases, which is the most in the state. Doctors say most people are able to isolate themselves at home but some are being treated in the hospital.
"We have had hospitalizations, but they are normally short-stay hospitalizations. We're able to get treatment and manage these patients," says Lilian Abbo, Interim Chief Medical Officer for Miami-Dade County.
"We're working aggressively to bring more vaccines as quickly as possible," says Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
In Broward County more appointments are becoming available and as call lines open in Miami-Dade, people are wasting no time making appointments.
"What we saw this morning was a flood of calls. We saw about 80 calls in the first 10 minutes of the line being open," says Ron Goncalves, President of Nomi Health.
The vaccine site on Miami Beach is booked solid until mid-week next week.
"Depending on demand we'll look at potentially opening on Sundays as well," says Goncalves.
The Department of Health in Broward County saying, in order "to maximize the supply of the vaccine, all available doses will be used as first doses only. Second doses will be rescheduled as vaccine supply increases."
"This is not just an adult disease. We're seeing in some cases adolescence and in some cases pediatrics in other states," says Abbo.
In Miami-Dade, you can only get vaccinated if you're in a high-risk group. That means, men who have sex with men and are in open relationships, anyone with HIV, AIDS or other STDs, people who have been exposed to monkeypox and emergency responders.
"We're seeing the disease mostly in men who have sex with men in a promiscuous relationship. If you're in a monogamous relationship you're at a much lower risk," says Abbo.
The President of Nomi Health, Ron Goncalves, says the plan to stretch the nations supply of the monkeypox vaccine by giving people just 1/5th of the dose should have the same effect but will require a more targeted injection.
"It's really going to allow those supplies to go a lot further and affect a lot more lives," he explains.
The vaccine sites at Tropical Park and Miami Beach will open Friday morning at 11am. You can make appointments here.