WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — More than 16,000 people in the District have received a monkeypox vaccine, according to new data from DC Health.

However, there is a disparity when it comes to who is getting the vaccine and who is getting the virus.

Data released Wednesday shows that 48% of people who have had a confirmed case of monkeypox are White, while 37% are Black. Yet, of the people who have gotten the vaccine, 62% are White and only 21% are Black.

“That raised an eyebrow for me,” said Earl Fowlkes, President and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, which aims to create more equality for Black members of the LGBTQ community.

“It brought back those feelings of those early days of AIDs when the information was not matching up. The prevention information was not going out to people of color and we were becoming infected without having any information,” he said.

Fowlkes noticed the disparity firsthand when he received the shot.

“I went to get a monkeypox vaccine and there were only three black men there. And there were about 35 to 45 white men there. All of different ages. And it was really shocking, there are only three of us?” he said.

DC Health is aware of the racial disparity.

“The first thing we noticed, the disparities between the race groups,” said Dr. Anil Mangla, State Epidemiologist for D.C.

Mangla said the Department of Health is working to address the gap in two ways, first by allocating a certain percentage of vaccine doses for specific demographics, based on the percentage of people in that demographic who have the virus. It also is working to increase walk-up, pop-up vaccine sites.

“With our pop-up clinics, the African American individuals that were getting vaccinated were 53.6%,” said Mangla. “If we continue with this, which we are pushing for, we’re definitely going to narrow that gap. Because this is now very clear, with these pop-up clinics we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of minorities that are coming in there.”

Right now, there are three pop-up sites that open every Friday from noon to 8 p.m. Those are located at 3640 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, 7530 Georgie Ave. NW and 1900 I St. NW. Vaccines are given out on a first come, first served basis and no preregistration is required.

You can also preregister for appointments with the Department of Health.

Mangla believes the addition of walk-up clinics will lead to a more equitable distribution.  

“I think give it another few weeks and that gap will start changing,” he said.

Fowlkes hopes so, too.

“(If not) more and more black men and Latinos will become infected with monkeypox,” he said.

For more information on monkeypox in the District, visit DC Health’s website.