Harris County leaders asking for more Monkeypox vaccines as cases increase 120% since last week

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is asking the federal government for more Monkeypox vaccines as the number of cases locally have more than doubled in the last week. 

"Here in Harris County, we now have 125 cases. Just a week ago, we had a bit over 50. Cases have increased nearly 120% since last Monday," Hidalgo said. 

RELATED: Monkeypox is spreading in Texas. Here’s what to know about causes, symptoms and treatment.

With the rapid spread of Monkeypox, Hidalgo worries its trajectory will soon outpace the slow rollout and availability of vaccines. As of Tuesday, Houston/Harris County is still waiting for 17,000 of the two-dose vaccine to arrive. 

"Here in Harris County, we have nearly 30,000 people living with HIV. If we were to increase eligibility based on current CDC guidelines, we’d need nearly triple the vaccines we’re getting just to serve this one group," Hidalgo said. 

Officials in California, New York, and Illinois have declared a state of emergency. Across the U.S., confirmed Monkeypox cases have now climbed to more than 5,800 as of Monday, according to the CDC. 


However, most parents FOX 26 spoke with say they’re unfazed, as kids prepare to head back to school this month. 

"We’re not super worried. If they need to wear masks then so be it, but praying that everything is good, and they’re all healthy," said Christine Webber.

"To be honest with you, I’m not concerned about that. I understand it’s there, but we’re taking care of our kids, our family," said Gilmur Reyes. 

RELATED: Monkeypox hotline created as cases continue to rise across Houston-area

Local health officials are reminding folks to stay vigilant. 

"I encourage you to think twice before engaging in high-risk behaviors with multiple partners, and or anonymous partners that you don’t know," said Dr. Brown with Harris County Public Health.

Dr. Peter Hotez with Baylor College of Medicine said he's concerned the virus could become a permanent fixture within the western hemisphere. 

"It's spread predominantly through respiratory droplet contact, I think similar to influenza; skin-to-skin contact, oral to skin contact, so fairly close intimate contact but not sexually transmitted per se, necessarily," Hotez said. 


"I'd be worried about household contact and so maybe that accounts for some of the kids that have been infected as well, through you know, bed clothing or blankets, or just close skin-skin or droplet contact like influenza," Hotez continued. 

However, Hotez said he's more concerned about COVID-19 for kids than he is about Monkeypox.

"It looks like it's not as contagious as a COVID-19. But you know, one of the problems is as long as people have lesions, they're infectious to other people and those lesions can last a long time, a couple of weeks. So, if you're living with somebody with Monkeypox, there is that potential risk for human-to-human transmission," Hotez said. 

Harris County Commissioners are expected to approve an additional $2 million in funding for extra staffing, testing, and Monkeypox vaccine distribution.