As federal authorities weigh in on a nationwide public health emergency declaration around the monkeypox outbreak, San Francisco and New York state began sounding alarm bells on Thursday.
San Francisco has become the first major US city to declare a local monkeypox health emergency in an effort to bolster the city’s preparedness and response to high demand for the vaccine.
The declaration, which comes into effect on Monday, is a legal action that allows city services to mobilize and coordinate more effectively, the Mayor of London Breed’s office said in a statement. It also allows for future reimbursement by state and federal governments.
“We need to be prepared and this statement will allow us to better serve the city,” said Chief Health Officer Dr. Grant Colfax. “Our response to COVID-19 has taught us that mobilizing city resources is imperative. The statement helps us ensure that we have all the tools available to increase our awareness, testing and treatment, especially for LGBTQ+ people who remain most at risk of Monkeypox.
San Francisco Public Health Officer Dr Susan Philip added: “We have always been at the forefront of advocacy and action for LGBTQ+ health and I issue this statement to reaffirm our commitment to the well-being of these communities and to allow us to act more quickly to obtain and distribute the resources needed to help those disproportionately affected.”
The San Francisco Department of Public Health has confirmed 261 cases of monkeypox in the city, while California has a total of 799 cases.
In New York, state health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett declared an imminent threat to public health, citing the rapid spread of the virus.
“This statement means that local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will be able to access additional state reimbursement, after other federal and state funding sources are maximized, to protect all New -Yorkers and ultimately limit the spread of monkeypox in our communities,” she said in a statement.
New York has 1,247 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state has received more than 60,000 doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The San Francisco Health Department requested 35,000 doses to meet overwhelming demand there, but said it only received 12,000 doses as of Thursday. About 4,220 more are expected this week, the mayor’s office said.
In Seattle, King County health officials said they only received 4,720 doses of Jynneos. This is only 6% of the 80,000 doses they would like to have to cover the 40,000 people at high or high risk of monkeypox.
Jynneos works best when given in two doses at least four weeks apart, but with growing demand and limited supply, some jurisdictions have focused on rolling out the first doses now and figuring out the second ones. doses later.
HHS says 338,000 doses of the vaccine have been delivered across the country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized an additional 786,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, and jurisdictions can place orders starting Friday.
In Washington, the federal government continues to monitor the monkeypox response and will use it to determine whether to declare the outbreak a public health emergency, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday.
“What I can tell you is that we continue to monitor the monkeypox response across the country,” he said. “We have made vaccines, tests and treatments available to all jurisdictions running their public health systems well beyond the quantities currently needed.
“We will weigh any decision to declare a public health emergency based on the responses we see across the country. Ultimately, we must stay ahead of the curve and be able to end this epidemic. »