State Health Department official: Not prepared for monkeypox

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MID-HUDSON – The state needs more vaccine supply to cope with the spread of monkeypox. That assessment came from a number of medical professionals during a virtual briefing on Thursday conducted by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

State Health Department First Deputy Commissioner Dr. Eugene Heslin said the state was not prepared for the virus.

“Initially, we had 25- to 30 percent of the cases and we were getting five- to 10 percent of the vaccine available to us,” he said.

Heslin said through the advocacy of Maloney, and of state and local officials, more doses have been available.

Dr. Ursula Bauer, deputy state health commissioner for public health, said monkeypox initially came to the U.S. in the 1950s on rodents that were imported from Africa as pets.

Now, the virus is transmitted through person-to-person touch and is prevalent among gay men.