Monkey pox: The Biden administration has declared the outbreak a public health emergency


The Biden administration declared the monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday, amid rising cases in the United States.

This was reported at a briefing by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The administration has at times been criticized for its handling of the outbreak, with some calling for the government to immediately declare a national emergency.

Since the first possible case of monkeypox was identified in the United States in mid-May, more than 6,600 cases have been identified or confirmed in the United States. Cases have been identified in all states except Montana and Wyoming.

The declaration comes after the World Health Organization last month declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, as an “emergency event” that poses a “threat to the health of other States” through the international spread of a disease and “requires a coordinated international response.”

Some cities and states, including New York, San Francisco, California, Illinois and New York, have declared monkeypox a state of emergency, allowing them to free up funding and resources to fight the outbreak.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden named Robert Fenton as the White House’s national monkeypox coordinator. Fenton — the regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada — is coordinating the federal government’s response to the outbreak. Dr. Demeter Daskalakis, Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, serves as Deputy Coordinator.

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The Biden administration has been criticized by some public health experts for not moving faster to address the crisis.

CNN reported Thursday that one criticism of the administration’s response was that HHS had ordered bulk stocks of the monkeypox vaccine, which the government stored and stored in Denmark, three weeks before the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the US. bottled and shipped to the US for distribution. The delay was partly due to concerns that once these vaccines are removed from bulk storage, they will lose their long shelf life.

Monkeypox can infect anyone, but the majority of outbreaks in the U.S. have been men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men and people who identify as transgender. Specialists say that in order for the monkeypox virus to spread, it is necessary to be in close contact with a sick person.

The CDC initially announced that monkeypox vaccines were being pulled from the Strategic National Stockpile and recommended to “high-risk” contacts of monkeypox patients, as well as health care workers who treat them. Federal health officials have expanded vaccination efforts to focus on the broader community of men who have sex with men, the demographic that accounts for the majority of cases of monkeypox in the United States.

In addition to providing vaccines, the CDC said it has made a concerted effort since June to provide extensive education and outreach to the LGBTQ community.

Health officials are considering changes to the way the monkeypox vaccine is administered because the country is “in the midst of an acute outbreak,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. Robert Calif told reporters on Thursday.

“Given the spread of the virus in recent days, it has become clear to all of us that we are in a very difficult situation, noting the need for additional solutions to address rising infection rates,” Califf said. “The goal has always been to vaccinate as many people as possible.”

The commissioner said officials are considering allowing health care workers to use a dose-sharing method in which a single vial of Jyneos vaccine — previously used as a single dose — is used to administer five separate doses.

This approach will change the way Jynneos is managed, Califf said. The vaccine is given into the skin layer, not into the fat layer under the skin.

“Intradermal administration has some advantages, including an improved immune response to the vaccine,” Califf said. “It is important to note that the overall safety and efficacy profile is not sacrificed for this approach. Please know that we are exploring all scientifically possible options and believe this may be a promising approach.

This story has been updated with additional information.


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