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Monday, October 3, 2022

SF runs out of smallpox vaccine, more requested from federal government

By Bay City News
San Francisco public health officials said Wednesday that they are running low on smallpox vaccine, and are urgently requesting additional vaccine from the federal government.

simian smallpox vaccines
This electron microscopy (EM) image from 2003 shows a monkeypox virion obtained from a clinical specimen associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. It was a thin section image of a human skin sample. On the left were oval-shaped mature virus particles, and on the right were crescents and spherical particles of immature virions.

The city's Department of Public Health received 2,308 doses of Jynneos vaccine last week from federal supplies and distributed them to sites around the city, but many of those sites were already running low, and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital had only 50 doses left as of Wednesday morning.

City officials said the simian smallpox clinic will have to close once the last doses are administered and will remain closed until more vaccine arrives.

As of Wednesday, there have been 68 probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox in San Francisco. The virus is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact or body fluids, and symptoms can include skin rashes or sores, as well as flu-like symptoms.

Public health officials noted that many members of the LGBTQ community in particular have sought the vaccine. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, criticized the federal government's response to monkeypox and said that "failure to control this outbreak will result in intense, and completely unnecessary, misery for many people, particularly gay and bisexual men."

Wiener cited reports of a million doses stored at a facility in Denmark because the U.S. failed to conduct a timely site inspection and its certification expired as an example of the federal government's inadequate response to the virus.

"We need an enormous amount of additional vaccine doses, and we need them immediately. The federal government's failures threaten to deeply harm our community. Once we get past this emergency, we need accountability for these failures, failures that put lives and livelihoods at risk," Wiener said.

Information about San Francisco's response to smallpox, including vaccine locations, health guide and current case counts, can be found at https://sf.gov/information/monkeypox.

You may be interested in: Smallpox, experts report on the disease that has gained prominence in the U.S.

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