August 4, 2022 – Biden administration announced monkeypox A public health emergency occurred on Thursday. The U.S. has reported more than 6,600 cases of the disease, up from less than 5,000 reported last week.
“This public health emergency will allow us to explore other strategies for faster access to vaccines and treatments in affected communities. This will allow us to obtain more data from jurisdictions so that we can effectively Track and respond to this outbreak,” Robert Fenton, who was named the national monkeypox response coordinator this week, said at a news conference on Thursday.
Monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox. People infected with the virus often experience fever-like symptoms, followed by red lesions on the body that may produce pus. The highest risk of monkeypox is among gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with other men. There are 1.6 million to 1.7 million Americans in this high-risk group, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said at the briefing.
The Jynneos vaccine is being distributed to prevent monkeypox and prevent severe symptoms. It is primarily aimed at those at greatest risk of contracting the virus.
Last week, the Biden administration delivered more than 1.1 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine — more than 600,000 of which have been distributed across the country — and received more than 6.9 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine in total.
Some 786,000 vaccine doses have been dispensed, with the first doses shipped this week. States will be able to order more doses starting Aug. 15. If a state has used 90% or more of its vaccine supply, it will be eligible to order more doses by Aug. 15, said Dawn O’Connell, assistant J.D., secretary of preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
O’Connell said 150,000 doses will be added to the national stockpile in September, with more to come later this year.
The government has also stressed the importance of monkeypox testing, saying it can now distribute 80,000 monkeypox tests a week.
An antiviral drug called TPOXX is also used to treat severe cases of monkeypox. About 1,700,000 treatments are available in the strategic national stockpile, public health officials said.
“We are ready to take our response to the next level, and we urge every American to take this seriously and take responsibility for helping us deal with this virus,” Becerra told reporters.
The White House said it will continue to reach out to doctors, public health partners, LGBTQ advocates and other affected communities.
“The public health emergency has further increased awareness of monkeypox, which will encourage clinicians to test for it,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said at the briefing .
This week, President Joe Biden appointed a new White House monkeypox response team. In addition to Fenton serving as the response coordinator, Demetre Daskalakis, MD, will serve as the White House deputy national monkeypox response coordinator. He is director of the AIDS Prevention Division at the CDC.
“This virus is spreading fast. This is a unique outbreak that is spreading faster than previous outbreaks,” Fenton told reporters on Thursday. “That’s why the president asked me to explore everything we can do to fight monkeypox and protect communities at risk.”