Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health discuss latest updates on monkeypox efforts, spread prevention

Monkeypox vaccine

HOUSTON – Leaders from the Harris County Public Health and Houston Health Department held a Q&A virtual news conference to discuss updates relating to monkeypox and departments’ efforts on mitigating the spread of the virus.

HCPH Dr. Ericka Brown and HHD Dr. David Persse answered several questions surrounding concerns about monkeypox.

As of Friday, Harris County reported 381 confirmed monkeypox cases: 321 in the City of Houston and 60 in the unincorporated area of the county. The CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 14,115 confirmed cases in 49 states. In Texas, the case count increased to 1,079.

Persse said 90% of monkeypox cases are of LGBTQ, mostly men who have sex with men.

During the new conference, health officials said they are able to service the vaccine for those in need but plan to expand the criteria for eligibility, which may strain the demand on vaccines again. Currently, the departments are trying to balance three things: amount of vaccine, prioritize those at risk and consider the demand of who wants one.

“We don’t want to be sitting on vaccines … and don’t want to overpromise,” Persse said.

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