Blacks in Michigan received 60% of smallpox cases, only 17% of vaccines

Although 60% of people who have had monkeypox in Michigan so far have been black, 70% of the vaccine doses that can prevent infection or limit symptoms after exposure have gone to people Michigan whites.

Black residents have received only 17 percent of the doses administered so far in Michigan, new data from the state health department show.

And when the first doses of Tecovirimat, the antiviral treatment better known as Tpoxx, arrived in Michigan, Oakland and Washtenaw counties, not Detroit, a predominantly black city that has 38 percent of Michigan’s known smallpox infections, say Dr. Shira Heisler. , a physician at Wayne Health and medical director of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic at Detroit Public Health.

“There is no way to physically get” viral treatment for patients in need

These are among the inequities fueled by an underfunded public health system already battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of sexually transmitted diseases and recently stressed by the world’s largest monkeypox outbreak, Heisler said.

In those early weeks of the monkeypox outbreak, Heisler said he received calls from people worried they might have the virus. Because his clinic was so short-staffed, he had no one else to pick up the phone. He was also testing and treating patients with the virus and administering vaccines.

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