Public health officials are pressing the Biden administration to declare a public health emergency for monkeypox and say a lack of resources has forced clinics to ration vaccines and treatments and even motivated some patients to head to Canada for monkeypox vaccines.
The White House took actions Tuesday to step up its response, with President Joe Biden naming Robert Fenton, a regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as the national monkeypox response coordinator and Demetre Daskalakis, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division. of HIV/AIDS Prevention, as deputy coordinator.
The White House said Fenton and Daskalakis would focus on equitably increasing the availability of tests, vaccinations and treatments. The US has now secured 1.1 million Jynneos vaccine doses to prevent monkeypox and is distributing them to states based on population and case count.
Federal and state public health officials say the 5,800 monkeypox cases that the CDC says have been detected in the US are probably an undercount because some people with the virus aren’t getting tested.
State public health officials say more is needed from the federal government. They say declaring a national public health emergency could direct more money to states for a response as well as make it easier to acquire vaccines and treatments.