RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The start of the monkeypox vaccination push in North Carolina looks similar to the earliest stages of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine — with a significant racial disparity.
Black people account for 70 percent of the first 111 monkeypox cases confirmed by the state, but have received just 24 percent of the vaccinations so far, according to a report Wednesday from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
That mirrors the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccination push 18 months ago.
In the earliest stages of that rollout in February 2021, Black people had accounted for 25 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths but received just 12 percent of the total number of shots given out — and that was actually considered progress.
Men account for all of the state’s cases, and the vast majority of those are men that have sex with other men.
White men account for 19 percent of cases but have received 67 percent of vaccine doses, NCDHHS said.
NCDHHS says 3,048 vaccine doses have been given across the state with more expected in the coming weeks.
“It’s important to remember that anyone in any group of people can get monkeypox, which spreads mostly through prolonged skin-to-skin contact,” Secretary Kody H. Kinsley said in a statement. “Partnering together to prioritize vaccine for the individuals currently most impacted by the virus will provide relief for that community and help control further spread of the outbreak.”
Among other highlights of the state’s demographic breakdown:
- 59 percent of cases were found in the 30-to-49 age group.
- 86 percent were in people who don’t identify as Hispanic or Latino.