Monkeypox cases show signs of slowing down — but keep prevention moving forward
Health officials can take advantage of the fact that there is not much vaccine hesitancy around MPV, as there was with COVID-19.
Illinois is approaching 1,000 monkeypox cases, but Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady had some good news on Tuesday: There are signs of a possible plateau in new cases.
More and more Chicago men who have sex with men, the group most at risk of contracting the disease, continue to seek out the vaccine. Simultaneously, the troublesome growth in cases health experts were tracing this summer have slowed down.
Federal health officials can take advantage of the fact that there is not much vaccine hesitancy around MPV, as there was with COVID-19. The vaccine roll-out should be done quickly. And with more doses available, health experts will be able to successfully combat vaccination disparities Black and Latino men are experiencing in Chicago.
New cases in Chicago began decreasing after July 30, while vaccinations continued to rise through the week of August 13, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.
At her weekly live-streamed Q&A, Arwady said there is a continued focus on increasing testing and vaccines among those Black and Latino Chicagoans who are at increased risk.
The city’s most recent data shows that about 31% of cases have been among Latinos, but they have only received about 17% of vaccinations. And while 21% of cases are among Black Chicagoans, only 12% of vaccines have gone to them.
On August 18, CDPH said Chicago will receive up to an additional 20,000 doses of the MPV vaccine, and also announced an expansion of those who are eligible to get the vaccine.
Before that date, CDPH had to limit the MPV vaccine to men who have sex with other men and also had other risk factors. Now all gay men, bisexual men, transgender people who have sex with other men, or people who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, are eligible.
The Sun-Times welcomes letters to the editor and op-eds. See our guidelines.