On Thursday, the Biden administration deemed monkeypox a public health emergency.
According to The Washington Times, the decision was made in order to speed up vaccine distribution and curb the spread of the virus, which is spreading rapidly in parts of the U.S.
“I remain committed to our monkeypox response: ramping-up vaccine distribution, expanding testing, and educating at-risk communities,” President Joe Biden tweeted Thursday evening.
“That’s why today’s public health emergency declaration on the virus is critical to confronting this outbreak with the urgency it warrants,” he added.
The emergency declaration invokes Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, allowing the government to increase the number of workers for vaccine distribution and additional response efforts. The order also allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to draw from reserve funds, reassign personnel or cut red tape that may stand in the way of an urgent response to a crisis.
On Wednesday, Biden tapped FEMA’s Robert Fenton and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis to lead the federal response to monkeypox. Fenton will serve as the White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator, while Daskalakis will serve as the White House National Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator.
“We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to combat this virus,” Fenton said.
As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported a total of 7,102 confirmed cases across the United States, with New York being the epicenter of the virus with a reported 1,748 cases.
The emergency declaration was made more than a week after the World Health Organization declared monkeypox, a viral disease native to Africa, a global health emergency. Several states and cities, including Illinois and California and New York City and San Francisco, respectively, have also issued public health emergency orders earlier this week.
Most cases have been found amongst men who have had sex with other men. The virus can also spread through close contact with an infected individual.
According to the CDC, people seeking to get vaccinated against monkeypox can take JYNNEOS, a two-dose vaccine taken within 14 days of each dose. Alternatively, a single-dose vaccine, ACAM2000, is available. However, according to the CDC, the single vaccine dose is not recommended for people with weakened immune systems as it can potentially lead to more side effects and adverse effects than JYNNEOS.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tatiana Buzmakova
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.