PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As monkeypox continues to emerge as a public health emergency, LGBTQ+ community advocates say more needs to be done to protect people. They’re also urging the messaging around the virus needs to be changed.
“There is no such thing as a gay disease,” Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said. “Monkeypox is impacting everyone.”READ MORE: Phillies Hit 4 Homers In 13-1 Win, Finish Sweep Of Nationals
Advocates and health care providers are joining forces to clear up how monkeypox is being discussed.
“The reality is monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection,” Kenyatta said, “and it is something that can impact everybody irrespective of who they love.”
“There’s a lot of misinformation,” Rep. Brian Sims said, “but mostly what we have right now are people who are seeking help not being able to get the help they need.”
Sims and Kenyatta discussed monkeypox at a news conference Friday morning at the Mazzoni Center. The virus is mostly impacting those in the LGBTQ+ community so far, but anyone can be infected.READ MORE: Several People Injured After Tree Falls On Top Of Them In Fairmount Park Near Mann Center In West Philly
For a vaccination appointment, people are being encouraged to call the Philadelphia Department of Health, but this is the message they’re getting: “Please note that at this time all available appointments for monkeypox vaccination have been filled.”
“We need more support immediately,” Mazzoni Center Chief of Staff Steven Robertson said.
The center at 13th and Bainbridge Streets is seeing three to five patients a day who are infected with monkeypox.
The center was supplied with 250 doses of vaccine. Robertson says all of the vaccines have been administered. The center is one of only a handful of vaccine providers in the city.
“We’ve seen this before,” Robertson said. “We must be able to do more equitable distribution of the vaccine and distribute them in more locations.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Weather: Week Starts With Muggy Conditions Before Cold Front Arrives
The Mazzoni Center will be hosting a virtual town hall on Tuesday to discuss monkeypox and the city’s response. Click here for more information on the town hall.