White House declares Monkeypox a public health emergency


Editor’s Note: This is a topical article. Please check back for updates.

August 4, 2022 – The White House said monkey pox a public health emergency on Thursday. There have been more than 6,600 reported cases of the disease in the United States, compared to less than 5,000 cases reported last week.

“This public health emergency will allow us to explore additional strategies to obtain vaccines and treatments faster in affected communities. And that will allow us to get more data from jurisdictions so that we can effectively track and attack this outbreak,” Robert Fenton, who was appointed National Monkeypox Response Coordinator this week, told a news conference. Thursday.

Monkeypox is a virus like smallpox. Those who catch the virus usually experience fever-like symptoms, followed by red lesions on the body that may lift and develop pus. Those most at risk for monkeypox are gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men. There are between 1.6 million and 1.7 million Americans in that high-risk group, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during the briefing.

The Jynneos vaccine is distributed to protect against monkeypox and can prevent severe symptoms. It goes mainly to those who are at the greatest risk of catching the virus.

Last week, the Biden administration made more than 1.1 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine available — of which more than 600,000 doses have already been distributed across the country — and secured more than 6.9 million Jynneos doses in total.

About 786,000 vaccines have already been distributed and the first doses were shipped this week. States will be able to order more doses starting August 15. If a state has used 90% or more of its vaccine supply, it will be able to order more doses by Aug. 15, according to Dawn O’Connell, JD, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. Social services.

An additional 150,000 doses will be added to the national stockpile in September, with more doses to come later this year, O’Connell said.

The administration also stresses the importance of monkeypox testing and says it can now distribute 80,000 monkeypox tests per week.

An antiviral drug – known as TPOXX – is also available to treat severe cases of monkeypox. About 1,700,000 treatments are available in the strategic national stockpile, according to public health officials.

“We’re ready to take our response to the next level, and we urge every American to take this seriously and take responsibility for helping us fight this virus,” Becerra told reporters.

The White House says it will continue to reach out to doctors, public health partners, LGBTQ advocates and other affected communities.

“The public health emergency is increasing awareness of monkeypox, which will encourage clinicians to test for it,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD said during the briefing.

This week, President Joe Biden named a new monkeypox response team to the White House. In addition to Fenton as response coordinator, Demetre Daskalakis, MD, will serve as the White House Deputy National Monkeypox Response Coordinator. He is the director of the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention.

“This virus is evolving rapidly. This is a unique outbreak that is spreading faster than previous outbreaks,” Fenton told reporters on Thursday. “That’s why the President has asked me to explore everything we can do to fight monkeypox and protect communities at risk.”



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