The memo comes as more than 6,600 monkeypox infections have been reported in the United States, a number that has risen sharply in recent weeks. The rapid spread – more than 1,200 cases have been reported in the past three days – has mounted pressure on the Biden administration to declare the outbreak a public health emergency, as critics and health experts accuse the White House of failing to mount an aggressive push. distribute treatments and vaccines.
Even as the Biden administration has pushed those at risk to get vaccinated, shortages have been reported across the country, particularly in New York, the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak.
HHS announced last week that it plans to ship an additional 800,000 vaccine doses in the coming weeks, though health experts predict that will still be well below the supply needed to contain the virus. epidemic.
On July 23, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. Since then, California, Illinois and New York have declared their own states of emergency.
Over the past few weeks, federal health officials have debated whether to declare monkeypox a public health emergency. One concern was that the move could further stigmatize the disease, which has massively affected men who have sex with men, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
But LGBTQ groups focused on the monkeypox response have expressed support for declaring the outbreak an emergency. And top health officials have finally concluded that the emergency declaration could unlock new authorities who could speed up the distribution of monkeypox vaccines and treatments that have so far been in short supply.