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SWFL doctor weighs in on monkeypox outbreak, vaccine supply

10 cases now reported in SWFL
Posted at 3:32 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 15:43:45-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — There are now more than 1,000 cases of monkeypox in Florida, including 10 in Southwest Florida, according to online records from the Florida Department of Health.

Of those cases, six are in Lee County, three in Collier County and one in Charlotte County. DOH records show 1,085 cases in the entire state.

Dr. Douglas Brustis an infectious disease specialist at the CAN Community Health Center in Cape Coral who spoke about the outbreak and the limited supply of vaccines.

"The vaccine supply is limited, but it really is just increased by five-fold because the FDA now is given an emergency use authorization that it's the way we actually administer the vaccine," Dr. Brust said.

Just this week, the FDA approved Emergency Use Authorization to change the way the vaccine is administered, dividing a single-dose, Dr. Brust said, into five smaller doses to increase supply, as demand increases.

"So for every vial that we would use, we can get five times more people vaccinated. The vaccine is a two-shot series given four weeks apart and we think your maximum protection is two weeks after you're actually vaccinated," Dr. Brust added.

Dr. Brust says the outbreak is mostly on the east coast of Florida and in areas where there is a higher population of gay and bisexual men, as most all of the cases he said are being reported in men who have sex with other men.

"Very unfortunately, there's a stigma involved with this being now another gay disease. As we all know, viruses do not know what your sexual orientation is. And they're out to make a living. It's spread, very close, intimate contact skin to skin," Dr. Brust said.

Dr. Brust added that, though the outbreak is not as bad here in SWFL compared to other counties like Broward and Miami-Dade, prevention is key, including in those at-risk populations.

"We always have to stay vigilant. You know, we have 10 cases. It's really at this stage of the game, you know, today August 12. If you're a bisexual guy or a gay guy that has sex with men, or a trans female, I mean really, you are the population that right now is at risk. So if you can get vaccinated, get vaccinated. We in Southwest Florida, our problem hasn't escalated and we want to prevent that from occurring."

Dr. Brust said to contact your local health department to find out how to receive your monkeypox vaccine.