Atlanta providers feel better prepared for possibility of new mpox cases

Recommend those who are at-risk get or finish the vaccine course
People fill out forms to obtain the monkeypox vaccine at the Department of Public Health tent during the 10th anniversary of the Pure Heat Community Festival at Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 4, 2022. (Photo: Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

People fill out forms to obtain the monkeypox vaccine at the Department of Public Health tent during the 10th anniversary of the Pure Heat Community Festival at Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 4, 2022. (Photo: Miguel Martinez /

Local providers are feeling more confident about containing mpox cases this summer, following an alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioning the possibility of new cases this summer.

Unlike with last summer’s outbreak, tests and vaccinations are readily available, which puts the focus on keeping the disease at bay through these preventative measures. The CDC is continuing to push public health agencies to vaccinate more people in order to prevent new cases and future outbreaks.

On May 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 12 confirmed mpox cases and one probable case reported to the Chicago Department of Public Health over a span of three weeks, from April 17 to May 5. Of the 13 cases, nine were among men who had received two Jynneos vaccine doses.

“There’s an opportunity to really take one’s health in their hands. We have, as a community, an opportunity to prevent a resurgence,” said Dr. Jonathan Colasanti, medical director of Grady Memorial Hospital’s Ponce De Leon Center, a comprehensive program for those living with or affected by HIV. " We have to encourage folks and communities to get vaccinated.”

Mpox is a virus from the smallpox family that can cause a painful sores.

As of June 21, Georgia is ranked fifth in the country for mpox cases, with 1,997 reported in the state. Since a global outbreak linked to international travel began in May 2022, a total of 30,505 mpox cases have been reported in the United States as of June 21, 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the vaccine doesn’t prevent all infections, getting vaccinated is still recommended. People who received their two-dose Jynneos vaccine series may have less severe symptoms than others who have not.

In Georgia, a third of the at-risk population — men who have sex with men and who have multiple sexual partners or those with HIV — has received one dose and 23% being fully vaccinated.

Additionally, Black men accounted for 77% of Georgia’s mpox cases, but only made up 40% of the state’s second dose recipients, as of February 8, the date the Georgia Department of Public Health last published a mpox report.

At Positive Impact Health Centers, Christopher Pride, director of clinical care, says providers have contacted patients who have not completed both doses of the vaccine. The last mpox case that he saw in a patient was in March.

“I feel more prepared as far as the tools needed to test and treat, but I don’t feel prepared as far as support for patients from an equity standpoint,” Pride said.

Many of Pride’s patients are individuals living with HIV and immigrants, populations that were disproportionately affected by last year’s outbreak. Pride said that providers should take time with patients to screen for HIV and other STDs when providing mpox services. He also noted that insurance status shouldn’t be a reason for not getting care.

For Colasanti, vaccination is key to maintaining a low number of new cases.

“People should pat themselves on their back if they did get their doses. If folks haven’t received any, now is a perfect time to go ahead and get the full series,” he said.

“But, even for people who have received the full vaccine series, I would go back to the early prevention principles we used.”

Mpox vaccine: What to know

Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) is caused by a virus that is related to the virus that causes smallpox. Jynneos is a 2-dose vaccine developed to protect against mpox and smallpox infections. People need to get both doses of the vaccine for the best protection against mpox. The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose.

Who should get a vaccine?

Anyone with known or suspected exposure to someone with mpox

Anyone with a sex partner in the past 2 weeks who was diagnosed with mpox

Anyone who is gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men or a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-diverse person who in the past 6 months has had a recent diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease or more than one sex partner.

The vaccine is also recommended for anyone with HIV or other causes of immune suppression who has had a recent exposure or anticipates future risk of mpox exposure.

How can I get a mpox vaccine?

The mpox vaccine is widely available in Georgia. To find a vaccine, go to for a vaccine location look-up tool.

Mpox vaccines are free. Providers must give you the vaccine regardless of your ability to pay the administration fee. The providers may bill a program or plan that covers the mpox vaccine administration fee, such as private insurance or Medicare/Medicaid.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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