PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The CDC says there are now nearly 1,500 monkeypox cases in the United States and more are expected. Federal health officials also say they’re working to overcome a vaccine shortage.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health says an additional 2,700 doses of monkeypox vaccine are arriving Friday at multiple locations around the state. New Jersey is also receiving new shipments.READ MORE: Mother Of 6 Stabbed To Death In West Philly Had Protective Order Against Fiance Charged In Her Murder
The monkeypox vaccine is also being stored at the Bellmawr Regional Health Clinic with Camden County being designated as a regional hub for storage and distribution.
“We’re getting a lot of calls presently asking for the vaccine,” Claudia Whitecraft said.
Whitcraft is with the Camden County Health Department and says the vaccine is only being distributed to people who’ve had close contact with someone who’s infected.
“It’s recommended that the contact of the case receive the vaccine within four days of exposure,” Whitcraft said.
Monkeypox causes a rash and flu-like symptoms, and the number of infections is growing rapidly according to a new update from the CDC.
“The vast majority of cases have been people who identified as men who have sex with men,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.READ MORE: Philabundance Distributing More Food Than Ever Amid Skyrocketing Prices Caused By Inflation
While monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, it’s spread by prolonged close contact through droplets in the air, or skin to skin.
“It just happened that this virus started with men who have sex with men, but it won’t necessarily continue,” Philadelphia health commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said. “It can be spread by any kind of close contact.”
Bettigole says monkeypox is spreading quickly in Philadelphia and the city is working to get more vaccines, but there’s a long line.
“The demand for vaccines from jurisdictions is higher than our current available supply,” Bettigole said. “And we know that this is frustrating.”
The CDC says it’s working to get more vaccines distributed as quickly as possible and this is also ramping up testing.
Dr. Stephen Gluckman is an infectious disease specialist at Penn Medicine.
“It’s clearly spreading, but it’s very unlikely to present the problem that COVID represents,” Dr. Gluckman said.MORE NEWS: Darren Arnold Sought For Allegedly Setting Fire To West Philly Home Where 150 Jugs Of Gasoline Were Found
The monkeypox vaccine is two doses. On Friday, federal health officials said they are not advising people to get just one shot to make supplies available to more people.