Within hours of launching a monkeypox vaccine hotline Tuesday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said some struggled to get through.
“A lot of call volume. We had actually had some problems with the system this morning that were fixed by lunchtime,” said Jenkins.
Even then, the county encouraged people to continue calling when lines were busy.
It’s a sign of the high demand for the vaccine seen in cities around the country.
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“In New York City when they first started offering shots, the slots were filled up within 15 minutes. Same thing in Chicago, same thing in Boston, same thing in Washington, D.C. So this community wants to get the vaccines, they want to protect themselves and they want to protect other people,” said Rafael McDonnell, senior advocacy, policy and communications manager for the Resource Center.
Right now, Dallas County is a hotspot for monkeypox in Texas with 175 confirmed cases and 21 suspected. That’s the highest total in the state.
Across Texas, the CDC reported 485 cases, which has more than doubled in one week’s time.
As the LGBTQ community center serves greater North Texas, McDonnell said the Resource Center has fielded a lot of questions since eligibility for the vaccine was extended this week to include men who've had sex with multiple men or anonymous partners within the last two weeks in addition to those who've had skin to skin contact with someone infected.
“We’re telling folks to be cognizant of who they are and what they're doing, realizing that, of course, monkeypox does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said McDonnell.
Last week, Dallas County received 5,000 doses of the vaccine, half of which could be held back as a second shot.
Jenkins says the county's working to get more, which he expects will arrive soon.
He added that allocations are determined first by the federal government and then state officials.
“We know that there's a lot of concern out there. Just know that we're doing everything in our power to keep you safe. Right now, the eligibility is expanded from where it was a couple of days ago, but it's not expanded to where we want it to be. We’ve just got to get the vaccine in here so we've got enough vaccine to get to everyone who needs it,” said Jenkins.
For those eligible, appointments for the vaccine can be made through the county’s hotline at 972-692-2780.
In addition to the Health and Human Services building on Stemmons Freeway, appointments will soon be offered at Abounding Prosperity, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Community Health Empowerment and Prism Health North Texas.