Feds launch vaccine strategy for monkeypox outbreak; FL health officials question shipment process

Florida now has 35 cases of monkeypox in 8 counties, with 21 cases in Broward

By: - June 29, 2022 4:43 pm

Monkeypox, which is endemic to African countries, has been identified in the United States and across the globe. Credit: CDC

With the federal government launching a national vaccine strategy to tackle the 2022 monkeypox outbreak, a state health official on Wednesday raised concerns about the feds’ vaccine rollout plan, suggesting that shipments have been slower than expected.

“We’ve been told supply (for vaccines for monkeypox) is limited. I recommend asking the federal government why they are proceeding with this cumbersome protocol,” said Weesam Khoury, deputy chief of staff for the Florida Department of Health.

The monkeypox disease continues to circulate throughout Florida, the nation and the world, as both state and federal health officials are tracking the outbreak and pushing vaccines aimed at individuals most at risk of the virus.

In Florida, state data show that 35 cases of monkeypox have been identified in eight counties, an increase from 27 cases reported just a day ago.

The newest data, as of Wednesday, show 21 cases in Broward County, six in Miami-Dade, three in Orange, and one case in each of five counties: Collier, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk and Seminole.

At 35 cases, Florida ranks 4th in the number of monkeypox cases in the nation. California has the most, with 80 cases, followed by New York at 72 cases and Illinois at 46, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, there are 351 monkeypox cases in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

Those infected with monkeypox can have symptoms, such as a characteristic rash that can look like pimples or blisters.

At the same time, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday announced that states will receive doses of the Jynneos, a newer vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for protection against both smallpox and monkeypox, according to a memo by federal health officials.

The CDC is recommending that vaccines should be aimed at “individuals with confirmed monkeypox exposures and presumed exposures,” officials said in the memo.

However, the state is awaiting on an update from the federal government about a shipment of vaccines for monkeypox in Broward County, which has the most monkeypox cases in the state, according to an email from Khoury, of the Florida Department of Health.

“Our order for 100 vials (50 2-dose courses) was placed on June 25, 2022,” she said. “These orders are typically processed within the same day, but this order is still under review by the federal government.”

She continued: “We are currently awaiting an update on that order…and for information on how shipping will be tracked by them.”

“Our team is working with the federal government to facilitate these shipments to Florida,” Khoury said.

“Unfortunately, CDC’s process for these specific vaccines falls outside of the standard ordering process through each jurisdiction’s Immunization Information System (IIS). Because of this, the ability for jurisdictions to track shipments, as we typically would for immunizations, is not occurring.”

Khoury argued that “each jurisdiction will have to manually request orders via email and wait for CDC’s review and approval.”

Meanwhile, 296,000 vaccine doses will be allocated “over the coming weeks,” and 56,000 will be immediately available to states and territories, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Over the coming months a combined 1.6 million additional doses will become available.”

Here’s the most recent list of monkeypox cases in the nation, according to the CDC:

State Monkeypox cases
California 80
New York 72
Illinois 46
Florida 35
District of Columbia 21
Massachusetts 15
Georgia 8
Pennsylvania 8
Texas 8
Colorado 7
Hawaii 6
Washington 6
Maryland 5
Utah 5
New Jersey 4
Ohio 3
Virginia 3
Indiana 2
Minnesota 2
Missouri 2
Nevada 2
North Carolina 2
Oklahoma 2
Non U.S. resident in the U.S. 2
Arizona 1
Kentucky 1
Nebraska 1
Oregon 1
Rhode Island 1

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.