On Thursday, the administration of President Biden made the decision to officially declare monkeypox to be a public health emergency.
This action is intended to free up emergency grant money and improve the allocation of vaccinations and treatments for the disease.
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During a briefing, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, stated they are ready to move their response to the next level in order to combat this virus.
They also urged every citizen of the United States to take monkeypox gravely and to assume accountability in order to assist them in combating this virus.
NEW: The White House has declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said.
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) August 4, 2022
The declaration comes amid intense criticism that President Biden failed to acknowledge the magnitude of the outbreak. As a result, there has been a scarcity of vaccine doses and diagnostic checks, despite the fact that demand skyrocketed.
There is concern among professionals in the field of public health that the United States may have blown its chance to contain or even eradicate the virus.
Health groups and Democrats in Congress who represent some of the states affected the worst have been putting pressure on President Biden to declare a state of emergency in regards to the nation’s public health.
Although a public health emergency will not alleviate the shortages of vaccines, it may speed up the clearance process for new medicines and give government agencies more leeway in how they respond to the outbreak.
Monkeypox is a national public health emergency, federal officials announced today. The designation gives federal agencies more flexibility and funding to develop vaccines and treatments, collect data, and hire workers to manage the outbreak. https://t.co/fttgpaiRlN
— Verywell (@Verywell) August 4, 2022
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been over 6,600 confirmed cases of monkeypox, almost all of which have occurred in males who engage in sexual activity with other males.
The state of New York is the most affected area by the outbreak, accounting for approximately a third of all cases, followed by the state of California.
The announcement made by the administration comes after the states of New York, Illinois, and California declared they are experiencing their own public health emergencies.
Because there is a shortage of monkeypox vaccinations, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is restricting who is eligible to receive jabs.
People who fit the conditions include those who have been in direct contact with known infected people and individuals who’ve had several sexual partners in the past two weeks areas with reported cases of confirmed monkeypox infections.
According to the recommendations of the CDC, simply having a large number of sexual partners is not sufficient to qualify for the vaccine. Even though it can be passed from person to person by close contact, the virus is not believed to be sexually transmitted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided some recommendations for eligibility, which certain state and local health departments, such as those in New York and California, elaborated upon.
On July 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated there was a worldwide health emergency, due to the epidemic.