BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — According to the Louisiana Department of Heath (LDH), demographic data shows striking racial disparities for Louisiana monkeypox patients.

Nearly 60 percent of the monkeypox cases in Louisiana are among black Louisianans and 27 percent in white Louisianans. Approximately 95 percent of the cases have occurred in males.

“We felt it was critical to release this analysis so we could shine a light on these disparities and the need for us all to do more,” said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. “This requires a whole of Louisiana effort. Now that we have more vaccine supply, we will be able to do many more community vaccination events. This is a priority for the Department — we must do all we can to protect our at-risk residents and communities.”

As of Thursday, LDH reports 127 total monkeypox cases for the state.

While cases have been identified in six of Louisiana’s nine public health regions, the vast majority have been identified in southeast Louisiana. Nearly 1,000 people were vaccinated against monkeypox at initial community vaccination events LDH held at LGBTQ bars in New Orleans. LDH formally requested and received approval for technical assistance from CDC ahead of Southern Decadence in New Orleans; a team specializing in vaccines, communications, behavioral science, epidemiology and logistics has begun its remote deployment and is working closely with LDH and NOHD teams.

People most commonly get monkeypox through close and sustained skin-to-skin contact, including but not limited to intimate and sexual contact. The virus can also spread through contact with body fluids such as saliva or fluid from the lesions of infected individuals or by touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

JYNNEOS is a safe and effective monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine requires two doses, and it takes 14 days after getting the second dose of JYNNEOS to reach maximum protection. People interested in receiving the vaccine can visit the LDH monkeypox webpage for information, including a list of locations in Louisiana that have received vaccine. People can also call 211 to get their monkeypox questions answered.

Vaccinations to protect against Louisianans against monkeypox are now available for:

  • Gay, bisexual, other (cis or trans) men who have sex with men OR transgender women and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men AND
  • Have had intimate or sexual contact with multiple or anonymous partners in last 14 days or
  • Have had intimate or sexual contact with other men in a social or sexual venue in the last 14 days
  • OR Individuals (of any sex/gender identity) who have given or received money or other goods/services in exchange for sex in the last 14 days

LDH says going forward, demographic data, including age, gender, race and ethnicity, among monkeypox patients will be updated on Wednesdays.