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Monkeypox Vaccines Available In Philadelphia At 5 Clinics By Appointment Only

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The White House is considering whether to declare a public health emergency. New data suggests that America is set to have the worst monkeypox outbreak in the world.

Cases in the U.S. have surged to nearly 3,500.

Philadelphia is also seeing a rise in cases. The health department is now confirming 54 cases.

With increased cases comes increased demand for a vaccine, but the rollout is limited.

There are five vaccine clinics around the city and they all have the same complaint - there aren't enough vaccines.

Appointments for the monkeypox vaccine quickly filled up at the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia, which is holding a series of vaccine clinics.

"We have far, far more demand than we have access, so we're trying to figure out how to equitably roll this out," Mazzoni Physician Assistant Dusty Latimer said.

He says because of limited supplies, the vaccine is only being given to people with direct exposure to someone who is infected and others at high risk.

"People with multiple partners, people who had an STI in the past few months," Latimer said.

Philadelphia now has 54 cases of monkeypox and is distributing its latest shipment of just over 1,000 doses of vaccine.

For now, the city is only providing one dose instead of two to stretch supplies. Officials say the virus that causes flu-like symptoms and a rash is spreading mainly among men who have sex with men.

"There's fear, always fear, when something new hits this community, and it is by no means a gay disease but it's hitting this community hard," Larry Benjamin from the Mazzoni Center said.

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease but is spread through close skin-to-skin contact. The CDC says that can include holding hands, cuddling, feeding, or through shared items like towels, bedding, cups and utensils.

Harun Tulunay says he called a nurse who sent him straight to the hospital where he spent two weeks recovering from monkeypox.

Most cases are not as serious but doctors say there is an effective anti-viral treatment.

Also on Tuesday, Camden County announced its third case of monkeypox.

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