“Every American should pay attention to monkeypox,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told reporters on a call Thursday. “It’s contagious, it’s painful, and it can be dangerous.”
But Becerra said he is not ready to declare a public health emergency, which would give the government new powers.
“We continue to monitor the response,” he said. “We will consider any decision based on the response.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which plans to release monkeys a State of the Nation Notifications, published new demographic data showing that 99 percent of cases were male at birth, and the majority had sex with men. Of the cases that included race and ethnicity data, 37 percent were in non-Hispanic whites, 31 percent in Hispanics and Latinos, 27 percent in non-Hispanic blacks or African Americans, and 4 percent in Asians.
The secretary said it is not inevitable that monkeypox will become endemic in the United States, even as officials speculate that the disease could be spread through sex with men.
“We can’t let this get out of hand,” Becerra said. “Everyone has to do their part.”
A low global supply of Jynneos, the next-generation smallpox vaccine, is on the way, with the US ordering an additional 5.5 million doses to fill and finish from existing bulk supplies. By May 2023, the US expects about 7 million doses.
It is not yet known how many people have received one of the shots in the US.
The government will also have the option to order more than 11 million doses of the vaccine – saying they hope to do so in the future. If the doses are not used, they will be added to the smallpox preparedness program, Dawn O’Connell, director of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Administration, told reporters Thursday.
Although the United States has access to more vaccines than any other country, cities and states do not have enough to keep up with demand. It also has a large stockpile of an older vaccine, ACAM2000, which can have more severe side effects and is not widely used for monkeypox in the United States.
The World Health Organization reported that approximately 16 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine are currently available globally.
Tecovirimat, an antiviral drug used to treat the virus, is also part of the US arsenal. Although more than 1 million doses were on hand, prescribing the drug was difficult for providers, prompting the FDA to update its use policy.
To date, less than 10,000 people have received treatment.
Testing for the virus has also been ramped up, with a capacity of more than 60,000 tests per week. Expanded testing — along with continued spread — means the number of cases will continue to rise, Becerra said.
“While this is a huge boost to vaccine availability, we know more needs to be done,” O’Connell said.
As monkeypox cases rise, HHS announces 780,000 more vaccine releases on Friday
Source link As monkeypox cases rise, HHS announces 780,000 more vaccine releases on Friday