Chicago (WLS) – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declared monkeypox a public health emergency Monday to help coordinate the statewide response.
Declaring the state a “disaster zone” allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to better coordinate with other state and federal agencies on vaccine distribution and disease prevention.
Illinois currently has the third highest number of cases in the United States, according to the governor’s office.
Monkey Box | All you need to know about symptoms, spread, treatment, and vaccines
As of Friday, there are 330 cases of monkeypox in Chicago, as the focus continues to be on providing vaccines to those at greater risk, despite supplies being low.
TPAN in Edgewater received 100 doses of monkeypox vaccine and counted quickly on Monday. People lined up even before the clinic opened.
“I don’t want to put anyone I love at risk,” Carlos Alfaro said. “If I catch the virus, I can bring it home, which is a huge concern for me.”
Luis Castillo said, “I think the LGBT community is more outspoken about diseases, but that’s what he said, I think we all need to learn from our society. And every straight person, no matter who you are, you should be careful.”
Chris Mooney lives in Chicago’s South Side, but came to the North Side location after doing his own research to find a vaccine.
“Really a lot of clinics and places that deliver the vaccine were on the north side, and then to see if you had to book an appointment, would you go in, first come/first serve?” said Mooney.
In Hyde Park, the Center for HIV Eradication is doing outreach and continues to do so through its mobile unit to try to share information with those who may not have easy access to monkeypox vaccination clinics, especially those with compromised immune systems.
“Because their immune system may not be the healthiest in terms of responding to that,” said Noel Green, director of outreach at the Center for HIV Eradication. “Making sure they are informed before they are prepared and vaccinated before they are introduced is critical to their survival.”
The center plans to increase awareness and vaccination according to the availability of the vaccine.
Full statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CDPH Commissioner Dr Alison Arwady
“This emergency declaration brings a much-needed focus to the monkeypox (MPV) outbreak we’re seeing here in Chicago, across our state, and across the country. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the Chicago Department of Public Health has been working hard with clinical and community partners to raise awareness and vaccinate the population. We will continue to do so. Ultimately, however, we need more support from the federal level to fully address the threat MPV poses to our city. We hope this announcement joins the chorus of others across the country and encourages rapid growth and distributionVaccines. This announcement will allow the state to use emergency procurement powers and directly engage other state agencies, such as the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), in the statewide response. Chicago does not need a separate emergency declaration because we are covered by the state, and in addition, we already have a local emergency purchase; strong local distribution network; And a variety of clinical and community partners working to raise awareness and vaccinate Chicago residents are at increased risk.”
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