Philly reports 70 new monkeypox cases as vaccination effort inches on

A visitor checks in at a pop-up monkeypox vaccination site in California.

File photo: A visitor checks in at a pop-up monkeypox vaccination site in California. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

According to data released by the city Monday, 70 new monkeypox cases were reported in Philadelphia last week, bringing the city’s total to 327 since tracking began.

The update ties Philadelphia’s previous record, set at the end of July, for most cases seen in a single week.

Of the total cases, 74% have affected cisgender men. People between the ages of 30 and 39 make up 44% of total infections.

Only 341 vaccines were administered last week, which is a jump up from 234 the week prior, but still short of the more than 1,200 provided in early August.

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While Black Philadelphians make up more than half of the cases (55%), they’ve only received 24% of the vaccines administered so far. White Philadelphians have received 56% of the vaccinations provided. At least 93% of the vaccines have been provided to men.

In an emailed statement to WHYY, Department of Public Health Media Coordinator Matt Rankin notes there’s been some issues hampering the vaccine rollout.

Rankin said during the week of Aug. 14, the department was unable to place an order for vaccines as expected.

Around the same time, the White House also changed the vaccine injection method in an attempt to stretch the supply.

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Rankin also added that the department needed to “update clinic operations and work to train partner clinics on the new injection method, which further slowed down administration.”

Philly DPH is working with community partners to revamp its efforts because “the vaccine effort has not yet met our goals for equitable distribution.”

“We expect, with staff and partners trained on the new intradermal technique, more vaccine in-hand, and new efforts to get vaccine into the community coming online, that the number of administrations will pick back up, and will be better targeted at those groups who need it the most,” Rankin said via an emailed statement.

Last week, it was announced 3,305 JYNNEOS vaccine vials were allocated by the CDC to Philadelphia.

Vaccines will be distributed in three phases between Aug. 22 and Sept. 30, with the department getting about 1,100 shots in each shipment. The second portion will be ordered once 85% of the doses have been administered.

Within the United States, 18,101 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed. Within the Delaware Valley region: Pennsylvania has 516; New Jersey has 504; Delaware has 21; and Maryland has 484.

It’s been more than two months since Pennsylvania’s first monkeypox case was discovered in Philadelphia. Since then, suburban communities and the region’s universities have also been impacted.

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