BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)–The number of monkeypox cases in Louisiana are steadily rising.
Healthcare officials are working to combat the virus by rolling out monkey pox vaccines in the capital region.
BRProud spoke with CareSouth Medical and Dental Chief Medical Director Dr. Gregory Garner regarding the progress made in this regard.
Garner said, “We got 80 doses about three weeks ago and then just had to put it together to find out where we would give the vaccine out to keep enough staff safe, patients safe.”
The doses are needed, as the state now has over 200 confirmed Monkeypox cases.
Garner explained which members of the community appear to be most affected at this time, saying, “We saw the demographics that it was predominantly aged 30 to 49 African-American males.”
Care South is among one of the few local locations where the monkeypox vaccine has been distributed in hopes of combatting the growing numbers.
Garner also mentioned exactly how use of the vaccine is expected to help, saying, “It is used to lessen the severity to prevent you from developing symptoms from the monkeypox virus.”
He added that the vaccine is for those 18 and older, and that people who are higher risk, should consider the shot.
Garner said, “The big groups would be gay, bisexual men, transgender, anyone that is HIV positive homeless, I.V. drug use.”
Anyone who thinks they may have contracted the illness should also consider getting the vaccine.
Garner explained, “Signs you may have contracted the virus range from just fatigue, exhaustion, maybe low grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, but also the rash is a big part.”
CareSouth has a mobile unit site where people can roll up their sleeves and get their shots.
“This vaccine is similar to your childhood vaccines that you’ve previously received. It’s made the same way,” he said.
After the first shot, patients will need a second dose 28 days later.
“Some of the side effects are symptoms that you may develop after any vaccine fatigue, a low grade fever, aches, pain at the sight,” said Dr. Garner.
The vaccines are placed strategically in more vulnerable communities.
“We just want to make sure that everyone has access to quality health care. We wanted to make sure that we can meet the people where they’re at,” he said.
To schedule an appointment with CareSouth for a vaccine, call (225) 650-2000.