RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – As the number of monkeypox cases continues to rise around Virginia, the Richmond-Henrico Health District (RHHD) said in almost a week, its vaccine supply has dropped to just over 200.
“As of this afternoon, we have vaccinated over 100 people here at the Richmond Henrico Health District (RHHD),” said Dr. Elaine Perry, director of RHHD.
According to Virginia Department of Healththere have been 75 total cases of monkeypox in the Commonwealth, two of which are in Central Virginia.
Dr. Perry says that for now, they’re continuing to vaccinate those at higher risk, such as immunocompromised people, anyone who knows they have the virus and anyone who meets other specific risk criteria.
“If they’re in an institution where sex happens if they have multiple partners, people who have anonymous partners,” said Dr. Perry. “In general, those are higher-risk situations.”
She said testing for the virus continues to increase through community partners, but is not currently done by the health district.
“There are now at least five commercial labs that are also doing testing,” said Dr. Perry. “So they’re expanding the testing capacity, which really helps in terms of timing.”
Like COVID-19, catching those who may have the virus early can help prevent its spread, but testing can only be done in those who show symptoms, such as acne.
“There’s really no evidence that just swabbing someone’s skin where there’s no visible rash is going to give any information,” said Dr. Perry. “So it’s really important to only test when someone has obvious signs of infection.”
The health district said while it may be traumatic for many as we continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to remember that these are two different viruses that spread in different ways.
“It’s something we take very seriously, but you know, again, we’re in a different place,” said Dr. Perry. “It’s a different disease, and so we need to make sure we’re tailoring our responses to this disease in a way that makes the most sense to approach it.”
The health district requires additional doses of the vaccine every week.
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