Georgia clinics facing low supply of monkeypox vaccines as cases surge

Georgia health officials are working to stop the spread of monkeypox as case numbers continue to rise in the state and across the country.

As of Tuesday, 45 states are reporting at least one case of the virus, and Georgia is among the states leading the country with rising numbers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms 268 cases of monkeypox-positive patients in the Peach State - an increase of over 50 cases from Monday's report.


Georgia has the fifth-highest number of confirmed cases, trailing only Florida, Illinois, California, and Georgia. 

In total, more than 16,000 cases have been documented in 75 countries with the CDC identifying almost 3,500 in the United States.

A general view of a vial containing the monkeypox vaccine on July 23, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The problem now is getting enough vaccines to meet the high demand. In Georgia, difficulty getting access to monkeypox vaccines have caused frustration. Despite the virus being declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization,  clinics are having to turn people away over limited resources.

So far, less than 6,000 doses of the two-shot vaccine have been shipped to Georgia - protecting less than 3,000 people.

Appointments are filled up at DeKalb County and Gwinnett County's health center. As county health officials receive vaccines, they expect to open appointments.

Currently, the vaccine is only available to the community officials have deemed most at-risk for the virus. While monkeypox is not specifically a sexually-transmitted infections, health officials say most cases have been found in men who have sex with men and have had sex with multiple partners in a two-week period.

To get the latest reports when and if you can register for a vaccine, follow your local board of health on social media

What is monkeypox?

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body. 


The disease is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals. It does not usually spread easily among people.

In June, cases began emerging in Europe and the United States. Many — but not all — of those who contracted the virus had traveled internationally. Most were men who have sex with men, but health officials stress that anyone can get monkeypox.

The disease can be spread through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact including direct contact with rashes or sores, contact with objects or fabric that ave been used by someone with monkeypox, or respiratory droplets or oral fluids.

There have been no U.S. deaths and officials say the risk to the American public is low. But they are taking steps to assure people that medical measures are in place to deal with the growing problem.

A two-dose vaccine, Jynneos, is approved for monkeypox in the U.S. The government has many more doses of an older smallpox vaccine — ACAM2000 — that they say could also be used, but that vaccine is considered to have a greater risk of side effects and is not recommended for people who have HIV. So it’s the Jynneos vaccine that officials have been trying to use as a primary weapon against the monkeypox outbreak.

The administration said it was expanding the pool of people who are advised to get vaccinated to include those who may realize on their own that they could have been infected. That includes men who who have recently had sex with men at parties or in other gatherings in cities where monkeypox cases have been identified.

Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if you do not believe you have had contact with anyone who has contracted the virus. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.