Coveted MPX Vaccine Appointments Filled in 90 minutes, Demand in City Outstrips Supply 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Baltimore, MD – On Thursday BCHD offered 60 monkeypox (MPX) vaccine appointments to City residents meeting current eligibility criteria. BCHD shared instructions earlier in the week online and in the media for high-risk individuals to seek an appointment reservation by phone Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.

As expected, BCHD’s clinics received a large volume of calls as soon as the phones were turned on. To meet this anticipated demand, BCHD diverted eight staff to support vaccine appointment phone lines Thursday morning. Despite the additional personnel support, residents  still experienced long wait times, holds, and hang ups while trying to schedule an appointment.

BCHD recognizes the frustration of those that are actively taking steps to protect their health by securing a MPX vaccine dose. However prevention is the most practical step one can take to avoid contracting this virus– especially while Maryland (and specifically Baltimore) has so few doses to distribute. 

To date, Baltimore City has received 700 doses of MPX vaccine. The doses were delivered in two batches: an initial batch of 200 and a second batch of 500. It is important to note that full vaccination requires two doses. 

Of the 500 doses Baltimore recently received: 

  • 360 are reserved for second doses
  • 80 new doses are allocated for post-exposure prophylaxis, occupational health exposures, and residents that received their first dose out of state
  • and 60 new doses were allocated for this morning’s registration effort

Monkeypox treatment is not commercially available in the U.S. and is controlled by the federal government’s strategic national stockpile. As previously reported, the CDC is distributing vaccine doses based on a predetermined formula to states and territories, and this is why neighboring jurisdictions with higher case counts are receiving more vaccines to distribute to their residents. The CDC currently indicates Maryland has 157 monkeypox confirmed cases with 42 of those confirmed cases in the Baltimore Metro Region. 

“Everyone in the healthcare space in Maryland– providers, community advocates, elected officials, and state and local departments of health are advocating for more doses for our residents,” Baltimore City Commissioner of Health Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said at a press conference on MPX last Tuesday. “We are doing what we can to secure as many doses as we can– as quickly as possible. And we anticipate receiving more doses in future phases of distribution.”

Until more vaccine arrives, BCHD’s strategy is focused on reaching the truly marginalized– such as residents dependent on transactional sex to make a living or individuals on methamphetamines that are having anonymous sex while using. These are examples of where the CDC says public health agencies should start in terms of priority with such limited vaccine supply. 

Be sure to visit health.baltimorecity.gov/monkeypox for the latest information on Monkeypox in the City. Residents may also visit health.baltimorecity.gov/mpxfaq for an updated list of frequently asked questions.

The Baltimore City Health Department is the oldest continuously-operating health department in the nation. The agency’s mission is to protect health, eliminate disparities, and enhance the wellbeing of everyone in our community through education, coordination, advocacy, and direct service delivery. The Agency is led by Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, a pediatrician trained at Johns Hopkins and educated at Meharry Medical College– one of America’s largest, and oldest, HBCU medical schools. She has served in three administrations during her time as Baltimore City Commissioner of Health since her tenure began in March 2019.

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