New Jersey Health Officials Say Monkeypox Outbreak Happening At Worst Time; Peak Of Summer Vacations

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – A day after monkeypox was declared a public health emergency, advocates say the additional resources can’t come fast enough. The vaccine is still very limited and cases are spreading quickly.

New Jersey health officials say the monkeypox outbreak is happening at the worst time, the height of summer vacations when people flock to the Jersey Shore. They say the majority of monkeypox cases are in the northeastern part of the Garden State.

“The risk to the public remains low, but anyone who has contact with a person with monkeypox can get the virus,” Darby McDermot said.

Monkeypox causes rashes and flu-like symptoms. Officials say it’s still mainly being diagnosed among gay men who get infected through close personal contact but can also spread with objects.

“It is very easily transmissible through contact, through towels at the beach, through bedding,” Kathy Ahearn with the Hyacinth Foundation said.

There are now over 7,000 cases nationwide.

“It was one of the most painful experiences in my life,” patient Luke Brown said.

With a national public health emergency declared, more resources, like money and manpower, will be directed to fighting the outbreak.

“Hopefully, it will also speed up the vaccine production,” Sarah Bass said.

Nationally, 600,000 doses of the vaccine have been distributed and an additional 150,00 are expected in September, but that’s still not enough.

“About 1.6 million Americans are in that high-risk group that needs to be, that should get vaccinated,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said.

To stretch supplies, many locations, like Philadelphia, are only providing one, instead of the recommended two doses, and only giving the vaccine to those at highest risk.

Federal officials are now considering allowing one, one-dose vial of the vaccine to administer up to give separate doses.

For some, the vaccine can’t come soon enough.

“I just got my results today that said monkeypox was detected which I already knew,” Larry Jackson said.