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New Orleans bar hosts mobile vaccine site for monkeypox

Owner Tracy Deroche applied for a grant to be a mobile vaccine site, and like everything in New Orleans, he's making it a party.

NEW ORLEANS — We're still awaiting word from state health officials on getting more shipments of the monkeypox vaccine.

One local bar is setting up an event to provide some shots Tuesday, but demand is high, and relatively few doses will be available.

The state health department is reporting nine new infections today.

The total is 83, but officials say they believe there are more cases out there that aren't confirmed by tests.

The nationwide total is just over 7,500.

If you have questions about getting tested for monkeypox, you should call the statewide 211 hotlines.

One month ago the Louisiana Health Department identified the first case of monkeypox in the state.

It's spread by touching the rash or sores on someone with the virus, or touching the clothing, or sheets. 

It can also be passed through intimate contact, including kissing, or through breathing for a long time in each other's faces. 

Now there are events to help stop the spread.

In the Marigny, at the Phoenix bar, they are getting ready for a big event on Tuesday afternoon, but it's not the usual social gathering. 

This time it's about public health.

“I'm about knowledge and especially prevention. I mean, if we can prevent anything from hurting other people,” Joe Darensbourg said.

Darensbourg, and many others, are planning to roll up their sleeves to get a monkeypox vaccine.

“I've been waiting actually to be able to get a vaccine. I have friends in other cities that have gotten the vaccine already, and it's been slow here,” noted Tony Simmons.

But Tony also has out-of-town friends who have caught the virus.

“It's awful, excruciatingly painful. It takes weeks to go away. It sounds really really bad,” Simmons said.

Tracy Deroche, owner of Phoenix Bar, applied for a grant to be a mobile vaccine site. And like everything in New Orleans, he is making it a party with food, music, shots for shots, swag bags, and door prizes. 

He is hearing people are going to get in line hours before the event. 

They think now is perfect timing just a few weeks before Southern Decadence, Labor Day weekend.

“This is bigger than Mardi Gras bigger than Halloween, bigger than New Year’s. It's huge,” Deroche said about the money Southern Decadence brings in.  

“I think it's important for everybody to be responsible, not only to protect yourself, but to protect the people around you,” Mark Gallagher said.

Now you're going to need a second dose of the monkeypox vaccine in four weeks. 

So after you get the first dose at the event, you'll get a card, or it will be on LA Wallet. 

That will allow you to come back in 28 days to the bar, and get that second dose.

And while you're there, you can roll up your other sleeve. COVID boosters will be given as well.

Here's the vaccine mobile unit schedule:
Tuesday from  4-7 p.m. at Phoenix Bar on Elysian Fields, with 300 doses.

Thursday from 5-9 p.m. at The Page on North Rampart with 200-300 doses.
Red Dress run, Saturday with 300 doses.


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