The monkeypox outbreak that has infected more than 6,600 people in the United States is a public health emergency, the Biden administration declared Thursday, a move that could make it easier to tap funding and wield the federal bureaucracy to combat the once-rare disease.

Biden administration declares monkeypox a public health emergency

Biden administration declares monkeypox a public health emergency The declaration came more than a week after the head of the World Health Organization, on July 23, said the “extraordinary” situation qualifies as a global emergency. The administration has been criticized for not moving more quickly – repeating some of the same mistakes that plagued the U.S. response to COVID-19 and Thursday’s move is intended to help get ahead of the virus spread. While the disease is being transmitted primarily among men who have sex with men, former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told USA TODAY July 21 it’s only a matter of time before the outbreak spreads in the population more broadly. The declaration allows the federal government to move faster to combat the outbreak and stigma against the community of men who have sex with men, said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy coordinator of the newly created White House National Monkeypox Response team.

“This is a very clear statement of the value of the lives of people who are in the LGBTQ community,” he said. “It also represents an important commitment by the administration to the community. Another example of how the Biden administration hopes to take more aggressive action is seeking to extend the reach of available vaccinations. Although supplies of the Jynneos vaccine have fallen short of demand, administration officials said they expect more to be available soon. In addition to doses on order from manufacturer Bavarian Nordic, Dr. Robert Califf, head of the Food and Drug Administration, said Thursday that his agency is considering changing the way the vaccine is administered. By injecting the vaccine just below the skin, the same amount of vaccine could yield as many as five times as many doses, Califf said in the news conference Thursday. The emergency declaration means the agency can dispense with some requirements to expedite the new approach.

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