Monkeypox vaccine efforts during Atlanta Black Pride successful

Vaccine doses have been made available to targeted populations following earlier questions around equity.

As monkeypox vaccine supply begins to outpace demand, many have received first doses, signaling a step in the right direction to health officials after over a dozen vaccine events were held in the metro area through Labor Day.

Monkeypox has disproportionately affected Black men who have sex with men, with this population accounting for 78 percent of cases in Georgia, according to DPH, as of August 31. Local health officials have worked to ensure that vaccines are readily available to the communities impacted the most.

Nearly 4,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine were administered prior to and at events during Atlanta Black Pride from August 27 through September 5 according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The events were held by local health departments and community-based organizations in partnership with the DPH.

“Partnerships with the Atlanta Black Pride organizers and extensive community outreach by state and local public health staff and community-based organizations were the key to this successful effort,” said Nancy Nydam, director of communications for DPH, in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “In the coming weeks through Atlanta Pride in October, additional second dose vaccine activities will be held to ensure that first dose vaccine recipients who were vaccinated prior to and during Atlanta Black Pride will be able to complete their vaccine series.”

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Slightly over 20,000 first-dose vaccines have been administered in Georgia as of August 31. Weekly case numbers in the state are declining as well. As of September 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 1,512 cases in Georgia.

Those that have been involved in vaccination efforts have noticed the shift in demand for doses. “In the beginning people were really eager, but now it seems like it’s starting to wane,” said Nathan Townsend, manager of prevention services for NAESM, an organization that focuses on the health and wellness of Black gay men.

At most of the weekend’s events, vaccines were administered by CORE GA, an organization that has helped in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

“It was well,” Taurus Jerelds, founder and chief executive officer of MPOWERR (Men Protecting Ourselves With Education and Risk Reduction), an organization focused on improving the health of underserved communities, said. “We did what we needed to do and were able to service those who were able to make it out.

Monkeypox vaccines are recommended for individuals who have had close contact with someone with monkeypox, a sex partner who has been diagnosed with monkeypox and men who have sex with men who have had multiple partners in the past two weeks. The CDC are not recommending the general public or all sexually active individuals to get the monkeypox vaccine.

To make an appointment for monkeypox vaccination anywhere in the state, visit here.

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