Black Men Less Likely to Get Monkeypox Vaccine

Although there is now enough monkeypox vaccine to go around, the Americans who need it most still may not be getting it, a new report shows.

Only 10 percent of the Jynneos vaccine doses have been given to Black people, even though they make up a third of U.S. cases, new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. The latest statistics were only able to be gathered from 17 states and two cities, but similar disparities have already been reported by a few states and cities. So far, the monkeypox outbreak has largely affected gay and bisexual men.

The United States has the most infections of any country — more than 17,000. About 98 percent of U.S. cases are men, and about 93 percent were men who reported recent sexual contact with other men. No one in the United States has died from the illness, but deaths have been reported in other countries.

There could be several explanations for the troubling trend, experts say. It could be how and where shots are offered and publicized. Also, some Black men do not trust doctors and government public health efforts, or they may be less likely to identify themselves as being at greater risk for getting the virus.

Vaccine reluctance was also seen in Black communities when COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out, Yvens Laborde, M.D., director of global health education at Ochsner Health in New Orleans, told the Associated Press. “If we’re not careful, the same thing will happen here” with monkeypox, he said.

Black men are making up more monkeypox cases, Caitlin Rivers, a Johns Hopkins University expert on government response to epidemics, told the AP. “This is a problem that is not resolving,” she said.

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