The Biden administration declares a public health emergency forThe outbreak is in the United States, which now has more virus infections than any other country in the world. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the decision in a briefing with senior public health officials Thursday.
“This public health emergency will allow us to explore additional strategies to get vaccines and treatments more quickly into affected communities. It will allow us to get more data from jurisdictions so that we can effectively track and attack this outbreak,” Robert Fenton, the national monkeypox response coordinator, said. Newly appointed to the White House, at the briefing.
Over the past decade, nationwide emergency declarations like these have previously only been made for the COVID-19 pandemic,and the in 2017.
As it did for COVID-19, the official said Besira’s move to declare a state of emergency could open up a wide range of flexibility in funding and regulations to respond to the monkeypox outbreak.
Officials said declaring a public health emergency could pave the way for the CDC to deploy more staff to respond to the outbreak, as well as to force hospitals to share more data to track monkeypox patients. It can also help pave the way for resources to scale up vaccinations.
Since last week, the department says it has distributed another 266,000 doses of GenioFor states and territories that requested doses. Another 150,000 doses that were initially scheduled to be delivered were moved from vaccine maker Bavaria Nordic in October through September.
Federal health officials also told reporters that they are considering a separate step that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to obtain emergency use authorizations that could facilitateto an outbreak of monkeypox.
One of those permits, first introduced by an NIH official earlier this week at a meeting with the World Health Organization, could allow vaccinators to fivefold their supply by injecting smaller “intradermal” doses into the skin, instead of ” under the skin” is the currently approved method for Jynneos.
“We are comfortable with an intradermal approach and, most likely, within the next few days, for a short period of time, we will make a final decision on it,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf.
Federal health authorities also have millions of long-expired doses of Jynneos in stock years ago, which are now being tested by Bavarian Nordic. If found to be viable – which a CBS News spokesperson acknowledged earlier this month as “highly unlikely” – the doses could be cleared under an emergency use authorization for use.
Officials have said for weeks that they are considering a move as the number of cases has ballooned and demand for injections has outstripped supply across the country.
The move comes with the growing number of jurisdictions, including many jurisdictionsas well They all considered the outbreak an emergency.
This week, President Biden also selected officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the CDCfrom the White House.
On Wednesday, the CDC said it had recorded at least 6,617 infections across the country. All but two states — Montana and Wyoming — have reported at least one infection.
“We expect cases to continue to rise, as we’ve had greater access to testing, and people have more access to testing, before they drop again,” said Dr. Rochelle Wallinsky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is still believed that the majority of infections spread through close intimate contact between men who have sex with men. While no deaths have been reported, patients often tolerateRashes and lesions that can persist for weeks.
The CDC currently estimates that between 1.6 and 1.7 million Americans are in the groups that are currently prioritized for getting vaccinated: HIV-positive people, men who have sex with men, and others at high risk of contracting HIV. human immunity.
Doctors also responded to a handful of infections in other groups that are more likely to develop serious illnesses, such asAnd the .
Besides freeing up additional tools in the federal bureaucracy to respond to the outbreak, officials said they hope the announcement will raise awareness about the growing outbreak.
“This is a very clear statement of the value of life for people in the LGBTQ community,” said Dr. Demeter Daskalakis, the White House deputy coordinator for the monkeypox response.
Only about 10% of the country’s monkeypox testing capacity is currently being used, which runs on about 8,000 swabs of monkeypox cases per week. Officials say they expect the number of people with suspected monkeypox to seek diagnosis, as well as doctors who go in to test for the disease, in the wake of the announcement.
“I think that along with moving forward and accelerating some of the work that we do, I think it also represents an important commitment by management to the community,” Daskalakis said.
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