TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — Desperation is growing.
In New York City, demand for the monkeypox vaccine keeps climbing. Cases there are doubling every six days.
As appointments in NYC quickly book, accessing the monkeypox vaccine in Texas is even harder.
Dr. Rodney Rohde, Regents’ Professor at Texas State University told WFAA the monkeypox risk level in Texas is much lower than it is in other populated areas of the country, such as New York City.
“We’re not in a panic mode,” Rohde said.
Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows Texas, the second largest state in the country, only has 726 doses of the FDA-approved JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine.
Texas’ current vaccine supply is less than half of what the state of Utah has, and in New York City, supply is 30 times higher than what the state in Texas is getting. However, cases there are much higher.
“If it (cases in Texas) starts doubling, or you start seeing hundreds of cases versus dozens, then that is when I think public health officials would look at that situation and start with a more localized effort to utilize vaccination,” Rohde said.
As of July 14, the CDC is reporting 43 confirmed monkeypox cases in Texas, that’s less than 1% (0.000147%) of the state’s total population.
Dr. Kenton Murthy, deputy medical director at Tarrant County Public Health said currently, monkeypox is spreading through clusters in the community. As of Thursday, the county had two confirmed monkeypox cases.
“The general population should not be overtly worried about monkeypox,” Murthy said. “The threat to the general population is very low.”
Kenton said the county is closely monitoring the monkeypox situation, but COVID-19 is still the ongoing virus posing a danger to the public.
Kenton told WFAA Tarrant County currently has zero doses of the monkeypox vaccine. The county expects supply from the state soon, but it’s not clear exactly when or how many doses will arrive.
Kenton said monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease, and those with monkeypox have very mild symptoms that resolve in two weeks. Those with severe symptoms need to go to their closest emergency room or contact their doctor for further treatment options, Kenton said.
WFAA has reached out to North Texas's major counties in regard to monkeypox vaccine supply, but has yet to hear back.
HHS has ordered 2.5 million additional doses, which are set for distribution later this year.
The CDC says many of the cases so far have been amongst the LGBTQ community, but anyone can get the infection through close contact or prolonged exposure. monkeypox is not transmissible through sexual intercourse.
“It’s really not about any individual group. Viruses are equal opportunity infectors. They have no bias,” Rohde said.