Monkeypox cases increase in Broward amid vaccine shortage

WILTON MANORS, Fla. – Broward County remains the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak in Florida. According to the health department, there were 70 cases reported on Tuesday and by Thursday there were 90 confirmed.

Also in Broward, the demand for the monkeypox vaccine is higher than the supply. Gerardo Farias was proactive and was able to get an appointment early.

“It was very easy and I am very happy,” Farias said about getting the first of two shots of the Jynneos vaccine in just 10 minutes.

Farias is the exception. Broward County received 3,000 vaccines. Orlando Gonzalez, of Safeguarding American Values for Everyone, or SAVE, said the supply dwindled.

“There is a lot of frustration and there is a lot of fear,” Gonzalez said adding, “If this is ground zero, then we should see the most number of vaccines being distributed here.”

The Florida Department of Health requested an additional 14,000 vaccines. President Joe Biden’s administration ordered more than 1.1 million Jynneos vaccines from Bavarian Nordic.

“I think it’s important for the governor to get on the horn to start calling the federal government and ordering vaccines and being responsive,” Gonzalez said.

Officials said that most of the estimated 1,000 cases in the U.S. have involved men who have sex with men, so they are considered a high-risk group. Anyone can be infected.

The disease is endemic in Africa, but the recent outbreak began in Europe. Epidemiologists traced the cases to two parties in Spain and Belgium. Frank Milatta said that concerned him.

“I am going to be in Europe and I know monkeypox is becoming more prevalent, so just to want to protect myself I said, ‘Let me come here and get it done’ ... it was really easy,” Milatta said.

According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin-to-skin contact spreads the infection and the symptoms include fever, chills, and exhaustion. When the illness is severe, patients experience painful skin lesions.

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How to protect yourself

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash or scabs.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.