(WTNH) – Health care providers are getting so desperate for a monkeypox vaccine that they are injecting patients with just a fraction of the usual dose.
To try to increase production, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on President Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act.
“Barely a day goes by when we’re not calling the state, begging for more doses,” said Dr. Suzanne Lagarde, the CEO of the Fair Haven Community Health Care.
The center has vaccinated more than 300 people in the last four weeks, and that is not nearly enough.
“Our schedule for monkeypox vaccines is almost nearly fully booked for the next few weeks,” said Dr. Benjamin Oldfield, the VP of Clinical Affairs of the Fair Haven Community Health Care.
They are stretching the vaccine they do have by using only a fifth of the usual dosage. It’s a strategy newly authorized by the F.D.A. to spread the vaccine around. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) says there is a way to get more of the vaccine quickly.
“We simply need to invoke the Defense Production Act, as we’ve done in other public health emergencies to compel manufacturers to produce more of it,” Blumenthal said.
That is exactly what President Biden did about a year and a half ago to increase the production of the COVID vaccine. Back then, people were standing in line to get their shots.
Monkeypox is primarily spreading among men who have sex with other men, so there is a stigma involved with getting vaccinated for it. Fair Haven Community Health Care does keep getting calls and making appointments.
“But we have probably equal amounts of people in the community who are not out as gay or bisexual or something else who don’t come in because they don’t want to be identified,” explained Wendy Cusick, who is in charge of the Fair Haven Community Health Care’s LGBTQ+ Care.
Monkeypox is spread through close contact with an infected person, or with clothes or bed sheets used by an infected person. If you have been exposed, contact your health care provider.
While it is mostly affecting the gay community right now, anyone can get monkeypox. The concern this time of year in a city like New Haven is that once students return to the college campuses, we could see a serious outbreak.