Under fire, US officials say monkeypox can still be stopped : NPR

Health care workers at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene help people sign up for the monkeypox vaccine at one of the city’s vaccination sites, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in New York.

Mary Altafer/AP

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Mary Altafer/AP

Health care workers at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene help people sign up for the monkeypox vaccine at one of the city’s vaccination sites, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in New York.

Mary Altafer/AP

WASHINGTON – U.S. health officials said Thursday that the monkeypox outbreak in the country can still be contained, despite the rising number of cases and the limited number of vaccines available so far.

The Biden administration’s top health official backed down amid criticism over the speed of the response and concerns about missing a window the United States has to contain the virus, which has been declared a global emergency.

“We believe we have done everything we can at the federal level to work with our state and local partners and affected communities to make sure we can stay ahead of this outbreak and to Let’s end the outbreak.” Service, told reporters in a call.

But he added that local health authorities “have to do their part… We don’t have the authority to tell them what to do.”

The opposition from federal leaders came as they announced plans to distribute 780,000 two-dose shots of the Jynneos vaccine. These doses are allocated to states, cities and other regions based on the number of cases and the size of their population at risk.

Health departments in San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere say they still don’t have enough vaccine to meet demand and have stopped scheduling appointments for second doses.

Basra said the federal government had done its job and said it was now up to local authorities to use the tools available.

“We have provided vaccines, tests and treatments far in excess of the required number to all jurisdictions,” he said.

But a representative for Specialized Health Clinics said Becerra’s comments showed “a complete lack of understanding of the full extent of this crisis.”

David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Managers, said in a statement: “Clinics across the country are appealing to federal health officials for the information, supplies and staffing needed to successfully end this outbreak. The group is seeking $100 million in emergency funding for local health departments and clinics.

More than 4,600 cases of monkeypox had been reported in the United States as of late Wednesday, according to the CDC, and federal officials expect that number to rise.

More than 99 percent of reported cases are in men, and the vast majority are among men who report having sex with other men, although health officials stress that anyone can contract the virus.

The U.S. is now capable of testing 60,000 to 80,000 people a day, although Becerra said the number of daily tests is much lower than that.

The monkeypox virus is mainly spread by skin-to-skin contact, but it can also be spread by touching bed linens used by an infected person. People with monkeypox may experience fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. Many people in this outbreak have sometimes painful zit-like bumps.

The U.S. has ordered 5.5 million more doses of the vaccine for delivery by mid-2023 and has rights to raw materials that could produce 11.1 million more doses. U.S. officials said a massive vaccination campaign could still be avoided if communities and individuals took steps to prevent the spread.

In San Francisco, Tom Temprano had an appointment for his second dose next week, but was recently notified that it was canceled due to resource constraints. Temprano, who is political director of San Francisco-based Equality California, said he was disappointed that health officials had taken so long to respond.

“Especially after two and a half years of a pandemic, it’s just a very disappointing response to the first larger-scale public health crisis we’re facing,” he said.

He also sees parallels with the slow government response to AIDS in the 1980s.

Temprano, who is 36, said, “I’ve heard from a lot of people … that there’s a sense of lack of real concern and urgency with the disease that’s disproportionately affecting the LGBTQ+ community right now.”

The CDC estimates that about 1.5 million Americans currently meet the recommended criteria for vaccination, primarily men who have sex with men.

But officials on Thursday declined to put a figure on the number of vaccine doses needed to prevent an outbreak. Nearly 340,000 doses of the vaccine have been distributed, but a CDC official acknowledged that the federal government does not know how many have been administered.

An additional 780,000 shots shipped to states this week were delayed by shipping and regulatory hurdles. They sat in a warehouse in Denmark for weeks as US regulators finished inspecting and certifying the facilities where they were produced.

California State Sen. Scott Weiner, who belongs to the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, called the additional vaccines “important.” But he added, “Of course it’s not enough, and we know we’re going to get millions more doses for the rest of this year and next year, which is not going to be enough in terms of really getting this outbreak under control any time soon.” “

The Georgia Department of Health has not had to postpone any second doses, but department spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said, “Demand is still very high. Every time a health department or other provider opens up appointments or opportunities at an event, within A short time will be accepted. Minutes.”

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