HRC Mpox Data Analysis Finds Only One Tenth of Mpox Vaccine Recipients Are Black, Despite Making Up One Third of All New Mpox Cases

by Jared Todd

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation also released results, in a second report, from an mpox survey of more than 3,000 LGBTQ+ adults, detailing vaccination rates, behavioral changes, reported discrimination and more

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation — the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — released a report, (In)Equity in the US Mpox Response: Trends and Disparities in National Data. The report analyzes available mpox case, vaccine and treatment data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) throughout the length of the public health emergency from May 2022 to the end of the public health emergency in January 2023. As the mpox public health emergency ends, this report provides vital, up-to-date information to assist public health authorities as they continue the ongoing work of managing the disease.

Findings detail that even as overall caseload has declined as the outbreak has gone on, Black and African American people have increasingly and disproportionately represented larger shares of new cases – and have received the fewest percentage of vaccinations. Despite making up an average of one third of all new mpox cases each week (reaching almost half of all weekly cases at some points), Black people only made up a tenth of those fully vaccinated with the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccines. Hispanic/Latinx people comprised only a fifth of all people who either received at least one dose of the JYNNEOS mpox vaccine, or who were fully vaccinated with the two-dose regimen, despite accounting for an average of over a quarter of all cases each week.

This data details what we’ve known to be true for generations: Effective care for the most marginalized in our community is continually too little, too late. Mpox cases remain low today because our community is doing what we’ve always had to do in protecting each other and taking precautions. Dismantling systemic barriers that affect the health of BIPOC LGBTQ+ folks across the country should be our number one priority in public health. As we move forward into the next phase of the mpox public health response, we recognize health officials, like Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, who have done an amazing job in recent months delivering crucial services and vaccines directly to the community.

"The safety and wellbeing of our community must not be an afterthought for public health institutions. The reality is that future public health emergencies will happen – it’s only a matter of time. It’s imperative that our public health institutions continue to learn from past missteps and ensure timely, equitable access to care, leaving no one behind."

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Some key findings from the report include:

  • As of February 1, a total of 730,555 people have received at least one dose of the JYNNEOS vaccine, including 449,113 who completed the vaccine regimen and received a second dose (61.5% of all people to receive the first dose).
    • White people comprise 46.5% of all people who received at least one dose of the JYNNEOS mpox vaccine, and half (50.4%) of those who were fully vaccinated — despite accounting for an average of a third (34%) of all mpox cases each week.

    • Hispanic/Latinx people comprise a fifth of all people who either received at least one dose of the JYNNEOS mpox vaccine (20.6%), or who were fully vaccinated (19.5%) – despite accounting for an average of over a quarter (27.7%) of all mpox cases each week.

    • Black people account for only a tenth of all people who received at least one dose (11.3%), or who were fully vaccinated (10.7%) – despite accounting for an average of a third (31.2%) of all new mpox cases each week.

  • As with data on vaccination, Black people are less likely to have received TPOXX treatment than their Latinx and white peers. Overall, 26% of TPOXX recipients are Black. TPOXX is a drug used for “primary or early empiric treatment of non-variola orthopoxvirus infections, including mpox, in adults and children of all ages,” according to the CDC. In addition:

  • 34% of TPOXX recipients are Latinx

  • 33% are white

  • 3% are Asian.

In addition to this mpox data analysis, the HRC Foundation is also releasing the results of its community survey (LGBTQ+ Community and MPox: On the Heels of a Public Health Crisis and the Path Forward) of 3,463 LGBTQ+ adults across the nation, conducted between November 2022 and January 2023. When asked about the mpox vaccine, one in five respondents did not know if they were eligible or what the eligibility criteria were. The survey’s executive summary can be read in full here.

Our report and community survey come at a pivotal moment, where we can begin to change antiquated and historically inadequate ways in which we reach multiply marginalized populations with crucial information and care. One of the most important tools we have to understand and stay in front of public health emergencies like mpox is transparent data collection. Our report shows the adverse effect on our ability to respond and provide adequate care and information to those who need it when we have states that are not even required to submit certain data to the CDC. It’s time to make our public health system more robust, from data collection to increased funding for community health centers on the frontlines."

Shoshana Goldberg, HRC Director of Public Education and Research

Overall cases of mpox have fallen precipitously since the virus’s peak in summer of 2022 in large part because the LGBTQ+ community took action by protesting slow government response, sharing personal mpox experiences with others for awareness and heeding the science to stay safe. On August 6, 2022, the seven day moving average was 459 cases of mpox. As of February 15, 2023, the seven day moving average is down to two cases.

HRC has been closely monitoring mpox in the United States andraising awareness about disparities. In an effort to provide critical and timely information to the LGBTQ+ community, HRC created a resource page that lays out what the virus is, how it spreads, symptoms to watch for and current vaccine information, among other crucial information based on CDC and HHS guidance. In addition, HRC has been in communication with the CDC and the White House, partnered with Gilead Sciences, and continues to work closely with numerous community based organizations providing information on mpox and working to get people fully vaccinated.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

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