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Louisiana turns to bars to help fight Monkeypox spread

"When you're in a place where you're used to coming to all the time and associate it with good things, bringing the heath care here, makes a lot of sense."

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting four new Monkeypox cases in the state, that brings the total case count to 234.

The majority of those cases are in the Southeast region that includes Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes. In an effort to mitigate a surge of the virus, the Department of Health will be hosting a vaccination clinic in the French Quarter.

Flu shots, coronavirus vaccines and the new Pfizer Bivalent booster, that targets more strains of the coronavirus, will all be available at Crossing from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. However, the main goal of this vaccination event is to encourage those who have gotten their first dose of the Monkeypox vaccine last month to come out and get their second one.

Dr. Shantel Hebert-MaGee, the Region 1 Medical Director for the Office of Public Health, says the department has been focusing on getting into the community and giving vaccinations to people in an environment that they feel comfortable.  

Monkeypox cases have dipped compared to where they were in early August, but she says that does not mean you can skip that second dose.

"We do want to prioritize locations that feel as though we are a sense of community, sanctuary, safe spaces and spaces where people feel that they will be treated with dignity, respect, and have a sense of camaraderie," said Dr. Hebert-MaGee. "It's very important that we continue our Monkeypox vaccination efforts."

Of the hundreds of people who got their first dose of the Monkeypox vaccine last month many of them were from out of town, according to Dr. Hebert-MaGee. However, more than half of locals who've received their first dose are returning to get their second one.

"So, thus far, our data has shown from some of the second dose events we've had, that people are returning, typically we're getting about 66% of people are returning to the same site," Dr. Hebert-MaGee said. "However, we do think that now people are able to get their second doses with their primary care physician if they have one that's established, and they prefer to get it in a smaller, intimate setting."

Daniel Williams is one of hundreds of people who've gotten their first shot of the Monkeypox vaccine at the various events the state has hosted. Williams said he is ready to roll up his sleeve one more time. 

"When you're in a place where you're used to coming to all the time and associate it with good things, bringing the heath care here, makes a lot of sense," Williams said. "The effectivity is why we get the shot in the first place and 80% is not enough when you know you could get more. I think it's good for people to follow through on their health as a rule of thumb because why would you want to have 80% of anything, that's still a C in grade school."

Vaccinations will be given out on a first come first serve basis. Dr. Hebert-MaGee encourages everyone to come out and get their vaccination of choice in order to stay protected against illness.  

If you miss tonight's event at Crossing, the city will be hosting more vaccination events in the near future. Click here for more.

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