Several monkeypox cases have been reported in the D.C., and within minutes of the announcement that vaccines are being made available, all appointments had been snagged.
But who exactly are those who are most at risk for getting the disease?
A total of 240 cases have been reported across the country, and 16 cases have been identified in the District. Health officials expect to see those numbers rise.
More than 95% of all cases have affected people who are gay, bisexual and trans women.
“It is relatively safe in the general public and that’s why we are focusing on the high-risk individuals,” said Dr. Anil Mangla, the state epidemiologist for the DC Department of Health.
Mangla said D.C. began ordering the vaccine after the virus was detected in Massachusetts. The first case was reported in the District on June 3.
“We had already identified a team in D.C., very focused on identifying monkeypox cases,” Mangla said. “When we received our first case, we were already prepared with the vaccine.”
Mangla said the individuals who tested positive have since been isolated. Close contacts who may be at high risk have also been vaccinated.
Monkeypox vaccine appointments will open up as more doses become available. Visit DC Health’s monkeypox webpage for more information.
Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that is quickly spreading throughout the globe. In the last two months, the virus has gone from statistically nonexistent to 3,000 cases in 50 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
Though most cases do not require hospitalization, monkeypox is potentially fatal, highly contagious and uncomfortable.
WTOP’s Joshua Barlow contributed to this report.