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Aug. 4, 2022 — The White House on Thursday declared monkeypox a public health emergency. There have been more than 6,600 reported cases of monkeypox in the United States, up from less than 5,000 cases reported last week.
“This public health emergency will allow us to explore additional strategies to get vaccines and treatment to affected communities more quickly. And that will allow us to get more data from jurisdictions so that we can effectively track and attack this outbreak,” Robert Fenton, who was appointed National Monkeypox Response Coordinator this week, told a news conference. Thursday.
Monkeypox is a virus like smallpox. Those who catch the virus usually experience fever-like symptoms, followed by red lesions on the body that may lift and develop pus. Those most at risk for monkeypox are gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men. There are between 1.6 million and 1.7 million Americans in that high-risk group, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during the briefing.
The Jynneos vaccine is distributed to protect against monkeypox and can prevent severe symptoms. It goes mainly to those who are at the greatest risk of catching the virus.
The most significant development is that monkeypox vaccines will be given by intradermal injections – or a small needle under the skin to create a pocket for the vaccine to go into.
Last week, the Biden administration designated 1.1 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine, of which 600,000 doses have already been distributed across the country. The administration says it can now perform 80,000 monkeypox tests per week.
An antiviral drug – known as TPOXX – is also available to treat severe cases of monkeypox. About 1,700,000 treatments are available in the strategic national stockpile, according to public health officials.
“We’re ready to take our response to the next level, and we urge every American to take this seriously and take responsibility for helping us fight this virus,” Becerra told reporters.