SF could face another public health crisis, lawmakers warn


SF could face another public health crisis, lawmakers warn

A Bay Area lawmaker warns that San Francisco is “heading toward public health chaos” over monkeypox, citing a Wednesday statement from the San Francisco Department of Public Health that said the agency was running out of monkeypox vaccines and they were her clinic in Zuckerberg will be closing at San Francisco General Hospital until more supplies arrive.

State Rep. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said the timing of the vaccine shortage is of particular concern given the increasing prevalence of the disease in the region.

“This depletion of existing vaccine supplies comes at a time when San Francisco and other communities continue to see increases in monkeypox infections and exposures,” he said in an opinion. “More doses of vaccine will be sent to San Francisco shortly, but supplies will still be quite limited.”

A press release from the San Francisco Department of Health said the Vaccine Clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital has 50 remaining doses, which it will administer on Wednesday on a first-come, first-served basis. After that, it will be closed until the next batch of cans arrives. The press release said other community clinics — like the San Francisco City Clinic and the Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic — will continue to administer the remaining doses, but also expect to run out of supplies sometime this week.

A report by the KTVU Tuesday said the line outside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital stretched down the block as dozens of residents waited to receive a vaccine before supplies ran out. Some people interviewed by KTVU said they waited up to two hours for the vaccination.

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California has the second-highest number of confirmed cases of monkeypox in the country. A CDC map shows California has 150 confirmed cases — just behind New York at 158 ​​– but doesn’t indicate where outbreaks are most prevalent in the state. However, the San Francisco Department of Public Health said the community has seen 68 confirmed cases so far.

Wiener said in his statement that the federal government was to blame for the vaccine shortage. He said public health experts warned back in 2010 that monkeypox would inevitably spread beyond West Africa – where the disease is most common – and said the Food and Drug Administration had approved a vaccine for use in 2019.

“Nevertheless, the United States government ordered only 56,000 doses of vaccine (enough for 28,000 people) for the national vaccine stockpile and failed to order the millions of doses that should have been ordered in preparation for an inevitable outbreak,” he said.

The San Francisco Department of Health’s release said officials “urgently” ordered 35,000 new doses this week, but didn’t say when they expected to receive all or part of that order.

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease typically characterized by a new, unexplained rash and skin lesions. Other early symptoms include fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. The CDC says the disease is rarely fatal, but warns that children under the age of 8, people with compromised immune systems, and people with a history of eczema are particularly susceptible to serious illness.

“We need an enormous amount of additional vaccine doses, and we need them immediately,” Wiener said in his statement. “The failures of the federal government threaten to deeply damage our community. Once we emerge from this emergency, we must be held accountable for these failures – failures that are putting people’s lives and health at risk.”

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