SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – LGBTQ advocates held a protest outside the San Francisco office of the United States Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, asking the federal government to do more with Monkeypox vaccines, testing and treatment.
Protestors stated HHS had plenty of time to prepare for the spread of monkeypox. They’re angry over the lack of planning, but even more upset with how the federal government has responded during the last two weeks.
“The time to stop Monkeypox is not 2023,” Tom Temprano, the political director of Equality California, said. “The time to stop Monkeypox right now.”
Every speaker who took the megaphone echoed the same sentiment.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health received around 4,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine this week — after requesting 35,000 doses.
Temprano said HHS needs to do more to meet the need.
“The vaccine supply being provided to the city of San Francisco and counties across the state buy the federal government is simply inadequate,” he said.
Temprano said some of his friends have gone through the pain of monkeypox.
It may not be life threatening, but he wants to see more urgency taken to stop the spread.
“This disease, aside from the physical impacts will have really significant impacts on the day-to-day lives of people who do get it,” Temprano said.
From a lack of vaccines, to the frustration felt by those waiting in long lines last week — protestors let their voices be heard.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said the FDA has signed off on millions of doses of the monkeypox vaccine in Denmark to be sent to the United States — and that San Francisco needs to be prioritized to get its fair share.
“People need to have easy access to this vaccine and we need to make sure we’re focusing it on the most impacted communities,” Wiener stated.
Other concerns include a lack of testing and the difficulties people are feeling to get treatment.
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Michael Rouppet, with the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, is a survivor of the AIDS epidemic. He questioned why there’s been a lack of response from the federal government when it comes to the monkeypox outbreak, which is largely occurring among men who have sex with men.
“This stigma attached to it to think that because LGBTQ populations are primarily being affected that this is an LGBTQ issue,” he stated. “We know that it is not.”