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Florida Department of Health again offers 2nd monkeypox dose after new federal authorization

People who had their second dose canceled due to limited supply are being rescheduled, the department said.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health confirmed Wednesday it is again offering second doses of the monkeypox vaccine following new guidance from the federal government on how more people can get vaccinated.

Politico reported Tuesday that the department advised county health offices to reschedule appointments for people set to receive a second dose given the short supply of vaccines.

Bavarian Nordic's Jynneos vaccine is the preferred shot against monkeypox, and it's a two-dose vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A person who receives the first dose then must get a second dose about four weeks later before being considered fully vaccinated.

But because, in part, supplies have been extremely limited, U.S. health officials last week declared a public health emergency to the outbreak that has since infected about 9,500 Americans. Clinics in major cities said they haven't received enough shots and had to stop offering second doses, according to The Associated Press.

In response, the Food and Drug Administration this week announced it will allow health care providers to stretch those limited supplies by administering the dose just under the skin rather than into deeper tissue. Five people, instead of one, could be vaccinated with each vial. 

This change has affected how Florida is administering the shots.

"With the recent EUA from the FDA, the Department is still offering second doses. Any doses that were previously cancelled are being rescheduled," Department of Health spokesperson Jeremy Redfern said in an email.

Many people have expressed frustration that health agencies weren't immediately able to respond to the outbreak, especially since it's one that isn't new to scientists and a vaccine already exists.

Monkeypox has also been disproportionally impacting the LGBTQ+ community, with the majority of reported cases involving men and of those are among men who reported sexual contact with other men.

To date, data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows Florida has been allotted 109,284 doses of Bavarian Nordic's JYNNEOS vaccine. About 65,960 doses have been shipped to the state — the same number of doses that the state has requested.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and more. Most people with monkeypox get a rash, and it may be painful.

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