San Francisco officials request 35,000 monkeypox vaccine doses as supply runs out

For a second day, hundreds of people lined up outside San Francisco General Hospital hoping to get a dose of the monkeypox vaccine.

Frustration was growing with the length of the wait.

"It's not great you have to trek across the city for a chance to get it without knowing if you'll be able to get the appointment," said Yona, a San Francisco man who was waiting in line.

Some arrived hours before the doors opened at 4 p.m.

"Today was my day off, so it was my only opportunity to fit it in, so I'm really happy I was able to get it," said Jamal, a San Francisco resident.

Within two hours, those waiting were told the supplies had run out.

"It's especially frustrating because we've been through so much with COVID, it seems like the infrastructure to be able to deploy a vaccine, give people information, have people schedule appointments, seems like that's a skill that the city and that many of these institutions should have developed, and it's a little weird we're not deploying that right now for this," said Cameron a San Francisco resident who was waiting in line but did not get a dose.

At a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday night organized by the San Francisco Aids Foundation, more than 500 people logged in to get facts about monkeypox including symptoms.

"Fatigue, body aches, flu-like symptoms, so maybe feeling like you're going to start developing a cold, so that's essentially what starts at the beginning," said Jorge Roman, Clinical Director of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Health officials also told people to check carefully for the characteristic rash and said lesions can range in size.

"It's a rash that kind of starts off typically like reddened, like a red patch on your skin, but quickly evolves and develops into very similarly like a blister," said Jorge Roman, Clinical Director of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

They also explained monkeypox is transmitted mostly through close body contact and people are less likely to contract the virus from the air or fabrics.

They also answered questions about testing.

"Do I need to have symptoms do I need to have lesions in order to be tested?" said Russell Roybal, Chief Advancement Officer of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

"Right now, yes, the test we have available work to amplify the material that are in lesions, so that is necessary," said Dr. Susan Philips, the San Francisco Health Officer.

San Francisco has a shortage of vaccines, with thousands of people on waiting lists. 

Health officials are giving priority to those with known exposure.

SEE ALSO: San Francisco calls on feds to speed up monkeypox vaccine distribution

"During Pride, multiple events have blasted out messages about potential exposure, that's also qualifying somebody as eligible for the vaccine," said Roman.

At a news conference earlier in the day, officials called on the federal and state government to take action to increase vaccine supplies.

"We are asking the state for 35,000 vaccines today for us to be able to get vaccines into arms," said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. 

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