When Michael Cummings, 24, called his doctor asking where he could get the monkeypox shot, he said his provider didn’t know.
“I was like, ‘Really? That’s the answer I get? You got nothing to tell me?’ and I didn’t want anyone else to have to go through that experience,” Cummings said.
Cummings immediately started searching the internet and the next day, August 4, 2022, the software engineer launched a new website with everything he had learned about www.chicago.care.
“I couldn’t believe the domain was available. Finding the domain is half the battle,” Cummings said.
The website lists vendor locations, availability, and even referral codes if needed. Cummings runs it but has a few friends who help him make phone calls.
“To keep the information current, we call and update the information on the website,” Cummings said.
One of the providers listed is Howard Brown Health, where they currently administer about 1,000 doses of Jynneos vaccine per week.
“I think the demand is still much higher than the supply, but our supply improved significantly once the doses from Denmark were sent back to the United States at the end of July,” said Dr Anu Hazra. , co-medical director at Howard. Brown health.
To increase access even further, the FDA recently cleared intradermal administration of the Jyennos vaccine, which is essentially a shallower injection that requires one-fifth of a regular dose.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Public Health said they are not practicing the intradermal approach at this time, but are preparing for it.
“You need special kinds of needles and a special kind of training to do this kind of administration,” Dr. Hazra said. “So the city is giving most vaccination sites time to expedite this or get all the resources needed.”
Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine, but at this time the city is only allowing the first doses to eligible people.
“The city was saying if we go to the intradermal approach, then people, everyone would be guaranteed the second dose, generally,” Dr. Hazra said.
In the meantime, Cummings hopes to help those still looking for that first dose.
“We’ve had people respond to our tweets and DM us on Instagram thanking us so much for putting this together; it’s helped me find care,” Cummings said.
According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, the city received more than 33,000 doses of vaccine Monday and more than 31,000 have been distributed. The rest will be distributed to Chicago vendors by the end of the week. As of Monday, “Chicago will be able to order nearly 10,000 doses to be administered under the skin (intradermally).”
“CDPH will continue to work with providers to balance efficiency and equity,” a CDPH spokesperson said. “Many health care providers and sexual health clinics administer vaccines across Chicago. We have also partnered with clinical providers with community organizations and venues to reach vaccine-eligible LGBTQIA+ people.”