RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some Wake County residents spent their Saturday morning waiting in line to get a monkeypox vaccine.
It comes two days after the White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
The Wake County Public Health Department held a free monkeypox vaccination event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Wake County Public Health Center in Raleigh.
They saw a huge turnout, according to a tweet — and later said the demand was “incredible” for the vaccine.
“The line winds through the inside, out the door and around the corner!” Wake County officials said earlier.
When the event ended, health officials administered 559 vaccines in just six hours.
A Wake County spokeswoman added: “We have remaining supply for future appointments. It was an incredible turnout!”
The agency says one couple arrived at 6 a.m. – four hours before the event started – to make sure they were first in line.
The line was so long for vaccines that some people had to be turned away.
“We did have to stop allowing new walkups around 1:40 because we had already done 300 but had 250 more people still in line,” Wake County Spokeswoman Stacey Beard said in an email to CBS 17. “We didn’t want anyone to wait another two hours only to be turned away so we shared our new call line number with them.”
To qualify for the vaccine, they say attendees had to be 18 or older and have met the following requirements:
- People who have been in close physical contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox in the past 14 days
- Men who have sexual intercourse with men, or transgender individuals within the past 90 days who report having multiple or anonymous sex partners, being diagnosed with an STI, or having been pre-exposed to HIV
Officials say anyone who comes to get the vaccine would undergo a brief screening beforehand.
The event was free and no appointment was necessary, according to organizers.
“This is an intentional step to remove any barriers to access,” said Sig Hutchinson, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
In a release, Wake County Public Health reported having about 550 doses of the vaccine.
Health care officials said several people showed up who had booked appointments for next week and later but they decided to give them the vaccine as soon as possible — which explains why the number exceeded 550 doses.
Masks must be worn at all times while in the Public Health Center.