San Francisco calls on feds to speed up monkeypox vaccine distribution

San Francisco leaders called on the federal government Tuesday to ramp up distribution of monkeypox vaccines, saying the city needs to inoculate its vulnerable gay population, which has been disproportionately affected by the virus.

"This is abysmal. The hissing is appropriate," said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman during a news conference outside City Hall.

"Gay and bisexual men and trans folks in San Francisco and across the United States are once again being failed by our public health institutions," said Mandelman, who is gay.

Mandelman said San Francisco was on the forefront in tackling COVID. Now, the city wants to battle monkeypox just as aggressively.

"Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox does not seem to spread effectively through respiratory droplets, yet here we are with cases rising, vaccines sparse," the supervisor said.

Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's public health director said, "While monkeypox is not as transmissible as COVID, nor as potentially deadly, thank goodness; monkeypox can be serious."

Colfax said it's not clear why the CDC and U.S. Health and Human Services seem to be dragging their feet.

"We are literally begging our federal partners to provide more vaccine so we can get it into the arms of people who need it most," Colfax said.

The city has received about 2,900 monkeypox vaccines from the state, most of them this week. The city wants 35,000 vaccines from the state and more from the federal government.

Tyler TerMeer, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation said, "These small and inadequate allocations of vaccine make it nearly impossible to beat the curve of new infections."

SEE ALSO: First monkeypox case in county confirmed as COVID-19 infections rise

The virus primarily spreads through direct contact with infected sores, scabs, body fluids, and sexual activity.

"Because this crisis affects LGBTQ+ community, our community, the community that lost so many during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s," said Aubrey Davis of the Transgender District.

For information on monkeypox from the CDC, click on this link.