The U.S. is intensifying its efforts to combat the snowballing monkeypox epidemic -- which has 700 confirmed cases -- in the United States.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced that 144,000 doses of Jynneos, a two-shot vaccine approved for smallpox and monkeypox, will be distributed to cities and states beginning Monday. This is in addition to the 56,000 doses that were made available by the department last week, out of which 41,000 were delivered.
Wednesday's announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was also made. Labcorp began testing for monkeypox in its North Carolina lab. The facility can take samples from all over the country. The CDC stated that Labcorp will be able perform as many as 10,000 tests per week. This would increase the country's testing capabilities by more than double.
According to HHS, four other commercial labs will also begin testing within the next few weeks.
According to the CDC Monkeypox spread to 54 countries where it is not endemic. There are more than 7,200 cases worldwide.
If we use the knowledge and resources we have, we have a good chance of containing this outbreak. Amira Albert Roess is a George Mason University professor of global epidemiology and global health. She expressed hope that they can speed up contact tracing, and the detection of quarantine, isolation, and vaccination of close contacts.
However, U.S. testing and vaccination efforts have been hampered by bottlenecks. All vaccine appointments were filled quickly in New York City, Washington, D.C., and up to Wednesday, all specimens were sent to the CDC's Laboratory Response Network by cities and states to confirm infections. This led to long waits for diagnosis.
Roess stated that there is a problem with supply chain management and logistics in vaccines and testing. "We saw many of the same issues with Covid and are now seeing them again with monkeypox.
On Thursday, California had the highest number of monkeypox cases in the U.S., followed by New York (131), Illinois (91) and Florida (72).
The Monkeypox vaccine is not available to the public. Instead, many cities are giving shots to those at highest risk. These include people who have been in close physical contact with others who are suspected to have been infected. This virus has so far been disproportionately affecting gay and bisexual men.
According to Illinois' health department, Chicago will receive 3,200 doses while the rest of Illinois will get 1,300.
According to the New York State Department of Health, it has received approximately 8,200 doses of vaccines. Approximately 6,000 of these went to New York City. However, appointments were not available in the city as of Thursday. (Technical problems in the online scheduling system Wednesday allowed some people to book appointments earlier than expected and prevented others from scheduling vaccinations. According to the New York City Health Department, slots will open next week.
Similar to the Washington, D.C. government website, it provides a link for scheduling appointments, but notifies that all slots are booked.
HHS has pledged to distribute 1.9 Million doses total this year and 2.2 Million more in the first half next year.
Even after being exposed, Jynneos may be used to reduce the severity of monkeypox. The shot should be administered within four days after the exposure. It can prevent someone from becoming sick if it is given within two weeks.
Roess stated, however, that if someone has a severe case of monkeypox the vaccine will not work.
Last week, the World Health Organization stated that 99% of all cases have been reported by men in their 20s-30s and 40s. The WHO stated that small numbers of cases were also reported by household members, heterosexual and non-sexual friends, as well as children.
The virus can be spread by contact with the lesions, rashes, or respiratory droplets of an infected person or items like clothing and bedding. The WHO is currently investigating whether monkeypox can also be transmitted sexually.
Roess stated that if a parent is actively spreading the monkeypox virus, you and your child are at risk of getting infected.
Other countries and municipalities, like the U.S.A., are also offering vaccines to high risk groups. This includes the U.K. and Berlin, as well as several Canadian cities.
Roess stated that the U.S. should release enough doses if strategically applied to those at greatest risk.
She said that to find out who it is, you need contact tracers and communication experts. We don't historically have those.
Some monkeypox victims have claimed that they were not notified of their exposures, or that they didn't receive the necessary diagnosis in time to get vaccines.