Monkeypox cases surge, weekly vaccine appointments fully booked

Health officials remind how virus is spread
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:28 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - If you’re looking for a monkeypox vaccine, you may have to wait another week.

Already, vaccine appointments are fully booked at nearly every health department in metro Atlanta.

According to the respective health department websites, all appointment slots are booked in Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton, Douglas, Fayette, and Upson counties for vaccine events through Saturday.

Those seeking a monkeypox vaccine in Henry County can attempt to sign up at 9 a.m. on Wednesday – for a Thursday appointment.

“Vaccine supply is limited right now and we do know there is a lot of demand,” said Dr. Alexander Millman, the Chief Medical Officer for Georgia’s Department of Public Health.

Dr. Millman said the state won’t see a significant increase in their allotment from the federal government until the fall.

According to Dr. Millman, the state continues to prioritize vaccine for:

-People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox,

-People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox,

-People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox

According to the CDC, Georgia has 749 confirmed cases – the fourth most in the country (behind New York, California, and Florida).

This week, health officials also increased their messaging reminding how the virus is transmitted in public.

“It is important to remember that monkeypox is not transmitted like COVID and typically takes skin-to-skin or other close contact to transmit,” wrote Nancy Nydam, DPH spokesperson. “Unlike COVID or measles, this means far lower risk to persons that may be in a room with someone with monkeypox, but who do not have contact with the infected individual.”

According to DPH, more than 90% of the people with monkeypox in the current outbreak report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox.

On Monday, MARTA police evacuated a train after a monkeypox scare near the East Point Station.

STATEMENT FROM MARTA:

On Monday afternoon, a customer onboard a train traveling to East Point Station overheard a passenger say they had monkeypox and called MARTA Police. We’ve learned the passenger was having an allergic reaction and was joking about monkeypox. Police evacuated the train and sent it to a rail yard for cleaning out of an abundance of caution and the other passengers boarded another train to get to their destinations.

While this incident was a misunderstanding, MARTA continues to take the health and safety of our customers and employees seriously. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, monkeypox is spread through skin-to-skin or other close contact and the chances of transmission in a public setting are low. Unlike COVID, it is not transmissible through the air but we encourage customers to continue wearing masks for their comfort. Frequent handwashing also remains an effective way to reduce the transmission of most illnesses. Additionally, MARTA will continue the routine cleaning and disinfection of all vehicles implemented during COVID and any in-service cleaning necessitated by a sick patron.