On Thursday, the United States declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a move that is expected to free up new funds, aid in data collection, and allow for additional staff to be deployed in the fight against the disease.
“We are ready to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and urge all Americans to take monkeypox seriously and take responsibility for helping us deal with this virus,” said the Secretary of Health and Science. human services Xavier Becerra in a phone call.
The statement, which is initially effective for 90 days but can be renewed, came on Thursday as cases nationwide exceeded 6,600, about a quarter of them from New York state.
Experts believe the true number could be much higher in the current outbreak as symptoms can be subtle, including single lesions.
So far the United States has delivered around 600,000 JYNNEOS vaccines – originally developed against the monkeypox-related virus, smallpox – but this figure is still far below the roughly 1.6 million people considered to be at highest risk and who have more need for the vaccine.
About 99% of cases in the United States so far have occurred among men who have sex with men, the Department of Health and Human Services said last week, and this is what population authorities are targeting in the strategy. national vaccination.
Unlike previous outbreaks in Africa, the virus now spreads predominantly through sexual activity, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say other avenues are also possible, including sharing bedding, clothing, and prolonged face contact. to face.
The U.S. statement comes after the World Health Organization also designated the outbreak an emergency last month, which reserves diseases of utmost concern.
Also on Thursday, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said his agency is considering a move that would allow doctors to administer five doses of the vaccine based on one dose of existing vials.
The vaccine is currently administered subcutaneously, but the new approach would involve intradermal administration, at a lower angle.
This “basically means sticking the needle into the skin and making a little pocket there where the vaccine goes, so this isn’t really anything very unusual,” Califf said.