Sims statement on monkeypox outbreak and new data dashboard

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 18 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., today provided a statement on the latest news regarding monkeypox cases in Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s release of a monkeypox data dashboard.

“With the news this week of Philadelphia’s reduced allotment of monkeypox vaccine, it’s even more disheartening and infuriating to see the latest updates, numbers and results,” Sims said. “We need to do better. We knew this virus was spreading and not only did we fail to quickly mobilize an accessible monkeypox vaccine program, we failed at even utilizing existing infrastructure or employing known best practices that we learned while trying to reach and vaccinate vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The damage is now seen in the data. The Philadelphia Department of Health’s data dashboard reports that there are more than twice as many monkeypox cases in the Black and African-American community compared to the white community, but 58% of doses have been administered to people who are white. This cannot continue. We need to remove barriers and ensure easy access to vaccines for everyone. I am committed to doing everything in my power to get the vaccine to the LGBTQ+ people of color who need it most.

“I call on the Philadelphia Health Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to step up and utilize all of their tools to respond to this outbreak. Yesterday, the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, delivered a rebuke of her agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC recognized that they need to do better and employ lessons learned to address outbreaks and emergencies moving forward. We must do the same across the commonwealth.”

For more information, contact Sims’ district office at (215) 246-1501.