LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Biden Administration has declared a public health emergency as the number of monkeypox cases have risen across the country.
It’s a move to help boost the federal response to the outbreak and free up federal funding for vaccines and other resources to fight the viral disease.
The Southern Nevada Health District said it has received about 3,000 more monkeypox vaccines. The 2-dose regimen is available for residents who are considered to be at a higher risk of exposure.
Nearly 7,000 Americans have been infected across the U.S. In southern Nevada, there have been 24 monkeypox cases reported in Clark County.
On Thursday, SNHD announced more vaccines against the viral disease have arrived but there are challenges to getting them into people’s arms. One man has spoken out about his experience.
“Monday of this week is when my scabs on my face fell off,” said Wesley Wallace, a monkeypox patient.
Wallace shared his rollercoaster journey after he said he contracted monkeypox during the Fourth of July weekend.
“I was out celebrating at the bars with my friends. If you know anything about the gay culture, we have a very touch-heavy culture. There is a lot of hugging and kissing,” Wallace said.
Wallace said he noticed blisters around his body and mouth days later, and his doctor confirmed the viral disease.
On Thursday the U.S. declared monkeypox a public health emergency to boost federal aid.
“We received an additional 2,956 monkeypox vaccine doses this week for people eligible for the vaccine,” said Dr. Cortland Lohff, the acting Chief Medical Officer of SNHD.
The outbreak, according to health officials, is primarily seen in the gay community, spreading through skin-to-skin contact and close contact with clothing or linen. Among the symptoms are blisters on the hands, feet, and face area.
“It’s very scary and I hope people don’t make the same mistake that many did back in the 80s with HIV.”
Gary Costa recently got his first of two vaccines and hopes others in his community do the same.
“I got my monkeypox shot in one arm and since I was there, I also got my COVID second booster,” said Costa.
More than 700 monkeypox vaccines have been given out according to health officials, which Wallace said he plans on getting after he recovers.
“I’ve got the antibodies now but a vaccine couldn’t hurt.”
The Southern Nevada Health District said walk-ins are the best way to get your monkeypox vaccine because their appointment website is currently down.
If you still have questions about monkeypox, the LGBTQ Center of Las Vegas is holding a town hall on August 18th at the center, off Maryland Parkway and Clark.
Public health experts will be there to answer your questions starting at 6 p.m. To RSVP, visit this link.