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High demand for monkeypox vaccine in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana now has 77 confirmed cases of monkeypox, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That number climbs to almost 9,000 cases across the country.

Indiana Department of Health is distributing vaccinations through a web survey page.

Some organizations in Indianapolis are working to help stop the spread of the virus.

Alan Witchey, the president and chief executive officer of the Damien Center, said Tuesday, “We do see the numbers going up locally, so vaccination is really important if you’re in a high risk category.”

Vaccinations started about a week ago at the Damien Center, a nonprofit. According to Witchey, they are seeing a high demand and, with help from the Indiana Department of Health, they can vaccinate around 300 people to start.

“We opened up an online portal, and it filled very quickly, so we’re already booked through September, and we’re working now to bring some of those people in sooner,” Witchey said.

Witchey says these patients have only gotten their first shot and will need to come back for their second shot. He says staff are also working twice as hard to make sure people have access to the vaccines.

“We’re working hard to reallocate some staff time, so that we can still accommodate our normal clients and patients and then also bring in people to get vaccinated,” Witchey said.

According the World Health Organization, the risk of contracting monkeypox is not limited to the gay community. Anyone who has close contact with someone who has symptoms is at risk. “I want to make sure that people don’t think of this as a gay disease for instance, or LGBTQ disease,” Witchey said.

The Damien Center also offers different types of treatments for monkeypox. Tests and vaccinations are available free of charge.