As if the rollout in regards to gaining access to the Monkeypox wasn't disastrous enough, new data is revealing that Black and Latino men who have sex with men are far more likely to catch the virus than white men.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that 71% of monkeypox infections are among Black men, but they only received 44.5% of vaccines. Additionally, whites have received 44.7% of vaccine doses but are 12% of the infections.
Dr. Melanie Thompson, an HIV physician and researcher, said in a statement, “We’re not meeting the needs of Black men — and because we’re not meeting the needs of Black men, we’re not meeting the needs of public health as a whole. It shows we need a better strategy to make the vaccine available to Black men.”
Larry Walker, executive director of ThriveSS, an organization serving Black men living with HIV, also added, “We need to go harder, to make sure the distribution of access for Black and brown people is improved.”
Monkeypox was first detected in 1970. The virus can infect anyone, but according to the Department of Public Health, the current outbreak has mainly impacted men who have sex with men.
Last month, there were nearly 3,000 cases of monkeypox reported in the U.S., around two months after the country’s first case was reported. There are currently over 14,000 confirmed monkeypox cases, according to the CDC.
I remember when I worked at the Chelsea location where the vaccine was first distributed, and I would see lots of white men and European- looking Latinos showing up to get the vaccine.
I saw a few black men coming to get the shot as well, but I think the men of color who probably aren't showing up to get the vaccine could be MSM's that are still in the closet.
What needs to happen is people need to be more educated about Monkeypox, and clinics need to make their patients aware about Monkeypox.
It's also boils down to vaccine availability, because quite frankly I feel the Biden administration dropped the ball in regards to vaccine availability.
So if the media and commercials are going to make black men the poster children of this virus (I've seen some of your shady marketing) you need to make the vaccine accessible to men of color who have sex with men.