On Friday night, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared the fast-spreading monkeypox outbreak in New York a state disaster emergency as authorities rushed to distribute vaccines to curb the spread of the virus.
The measure comes as the number of monkeypox infections in New York has approached nearly 1,400 cases, with most infections in New York, which is the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.
“More than one in four cases of monkeypox in this country are in New York State, and we must use every tool in our arsenal to respond,” Hochul said in a statement, addressing the statement. emergency.
The director of the World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency late last week. As of Wednesday, more than 20,000 cases of monkeypox had been detected worldwide in 77 countries. The United States currently has about 4,600 reported cases, USA TODAY reported.
The executive order specifically expands the pool of eligible people who can administer monkeypox vaccines, including emergency medical services personnel, pharmacists and midwives. It also allows doctors and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient-specific standing orders for vaccines and requires providers to send vaccine data to the state Department of Health.
VACCINES: Over 780,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine available Friday; San Francisco declares a state of emergency
Meanwhile, the mayor of San Francisco declared a state of emergency on Thursday over the growing number of cases in the city, which has 261 of California’s 800 cases.
“We desperately need vaccines to support the people of San Francisco,” Mayor of London Breed said.
Federal health officials said they are still considering whether to declare monkeypox a public health emergency, which would free up more resources.
After the federal government struggled to get enough monkeypox vaccine earlier this month, supplies have steadily increased in recent weeks, peaking Friday with the distribution of 780,000 doses nationwide.
About 110,000 doses went to New York, including about 30,000 outside of New York.
Immunization clinics in the greater New York area as well as several upstate counties faced overwhelming demand for vaccines earlier this week amid a limited supply of vaccines as people made appointments available within hours.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that usually does not cause serious illness. However, it can lead to hospitalization or death.
Monkeypox is spread by close physical contact between people. That means anyone can get monkeypox, state health officials said.
However, based on the current epidemic, certain populations are more affected by monkeypox than others, including men who have sex with men.
Based on previous monkeypox outbreaks around the world, certain groups may also be at increased risk of serious consequences if they contract monkeypox. This includes people with weakened immune systems, older New Yorkers, young children under 8, and pregnant women.
Contributor: Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: NY Declares State of Disaster Emergency for Monkeypox Outbreak