Biden administration ramps up monkey vaccinations amid rising cases

HHS said it has so far received vaccine requests from 32 states and jurisdictions and has shipped more than 9,000 doses as well as 300 courses of antiviral treatment.

The national strategy marks a dramatic expansion of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of the disease. The federal government’s original guidelines required states to vaccinate only people with monkeypox and their immediate close contacts, an approach that failed to stop the disease as the number of cases increased.

“It’s almost like we’re expanding the definition of who can be in contact,” said Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of High Impact Pathogens and Pathologies, explaining the new plan. “We are considering the contacts [to be] People who may have recently had the type of exposure that put them at high risk for monkeypox. Whether they participated in parties or in a place where monkeys are known to be prevalent, but we can’t find them, we recommend that they come in for a vaccine. “

To date, the CDC has confirmed 306 cases of monkeypox in 28 states and other jurisdictions. California, New York, Florida and Illinois have the highest concentration of cases. The disease, which is now mostly spread through sex with men, causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, but patients can take antiviral drugs and all have recovered so far.

Globally, more than 4,700 cases Fixed.

Cities await vaccination

Officials in Los Angeles and New York, which are among cities that have already begun vaccinating a wider group of at-risk populations in the days leading up to the CDC’s directive, told POLITICO that they were already anticipating more requested doses of the vaccine. from the federal government to continue this effort.

In New York, for example, A A temporary vaccination clinic in the Chelsea area Manhattan administered 1,000 doses of Jynneos sent by the federal government. The clinic has now stopped accepting new appointments and requested more doses, said Michael Lanza, deputy spokesman for the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

In Chicago, where there is also an outbreak, public health officials have begun offering vaccines in places where at-risk people go, such as bathhouses. They also say they can communicate more once more supplies of the vaccine are released.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky acknowledged that there are “certain limitations” to the current national supply of Jynneos and that the administration is prioritizing “those who need it most urgently.”

States can also request doses of ACAM2000, an older smallpox vaccine that can be used to treat monkeys, from a national stockpile of about 100 million doses. It has more side effects than Jynneos and patients who are immunocompromised or have heart disease should not take it.

“Riding in the Dark”

The The administration’s new strategy also aims to make it easier for clinicians to test patients and people to test for monkeypox.

Many epidemiologists and public health advocates say the current number of cases is underestimated, due to difficulties in getting tests to labs and clinicians’ unfamiliarity with the disease, which is relatively rare in the US.

To confirm a case of monkeypox, clinicians must submit a specimen to a laboratory in the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network. These labs can test for orthopoxviruses, such as monkeypox. If the patient is positive for orthopox, the case is then sent to the CDC to determine if it is monkeypox.

It is a relatively quick and easy process for clinicians and medical staff who are familiar with it and are close to a network laboratory.

But this becomes more difficult in large states, rural areas, or where medical staff lack training. This leads to incomplete testing, say clinicians.

“We haven’t had a case in Michigan yet, but we all know — including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services — that we’re in a very large testing process,” said Gretchen Snoenbos Newman, an assistant professor of infectious disease at Wayne State. University of Detroit, in a letter to POLITICO.

“The testing process has been somewhat unclear and a little difficult,” he said, adding that the state health department is actively working to improve it. “Information should be disseminated to both providers and the community.”

Last week, HHS said it had begun shipping orthopox tests to five commercial labs, which the agency said would make it easier for clinicians to access the tests starting in July.

Meanwhile, the CDC says its national laboratory network has more than enough capacity to handle the number of monkeypox tests it needs now. Walensky said Tuesday that it can now receive and process more than 10,000 tests a week.

But that could ignore the fact that the epidemic is not happening evenly across the country, some say, and that regional testing labs carry different burdens.

“This suggests that the LRNs are all being used equally — that the LRN in Kansas City has the same need for testing as the LRN in New York,” said Joseph Osmundson, a biophysicist and assistant professor at New York University who is part of the study. Monkeypox Coalition. “And that’s clearly wrong.”

Without a clear picture of the spread of the virus, it is difficult for the government to come up with an effective strategy to vaccinate people who are most at risk, Osmundsson said.

“We’re so far behind in testing, we don’t know who to target for vaccination,” he said. “We’re driving in the dark with our headlights off.”

Biden administration ramps up monkey vaccinations amid rising cases

Source link Biden administration ramps up monkey vaccinations amid rising cases

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