U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that his administration will declare the spread of monkeypox in the United States a Public Health Emergency (PHE).
This action will further augment and accelerate the United States’ response to the continued rapid transmission of monkeypox in the country and the world.
“Ending the monkeypox outbreak is a critical priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. We are taking our response to the next level by declaring a public health emergency,” said Secretary Becerra. “With today’s declaration, we can further strengthen and accelerate our response further.”
Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency
“President Biden has called on us to explore every option on the table to combat the monkeypox outbreak and protect communities at risk,” said White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator Robert Fenton. “We are applying lessons learned from the battles we’ve fought – from COVID response to wildfires to measles, and will tackle this outbreak with the urgency this moment demands.”
The FDA and the PHE organization are working together to develop new strategies to help provide vaccines to affected communities across the country. This includes the use of new dose-sparing approaches that could increase the number of doses per vial, up to five times.
The impact that this emergency has on data sharing also has important consequences for the federal government. 51 jurisdictions have signed data-use agreements with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to vaccination, with 56 more expected to do so. Declaring the emergency will possibly justify why the CDC is sharing their information.
As of today, more than 603,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine have been sent to states and jurisdictions, an increase of 266,000 doses in the past week. HHS has protected almost one million doses of its supply for states and jurisdictions in total, and is releasing more doses to jurisdictions as states use their current supply. HHS also announced Thursday that it has accelerated the delivery of another 1.1 million doses of the vaccine.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive agenda aims to secure the United States against the monkeypox outbreak. The strategy includes significantly ramping up the production and distribution of vaccines, expanding testing capacity and making testing more convenient, easing the burdens of obtaining treatments, and conducting robust outreach to stakeholders and members.