National health officials announced Thursday that the country has more than doubled the monkeypox vaccines that will be available to state and local health agencies in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Biden administration have obtained an additional 786,000 vaccines in addition to the 338,000 vaccines that have been turned over to local and state health groups, according to U.S. Secretary Xavier Becerra. of HHS, during a Thursday call with media.
So far there have been fewer than 4,700 cases of the rash, with no deaths, in the United States worldwide, more than 20,000 cases have been detected in nearly 80 countries, according to Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Almost all monkeypox patients, 99%, are male and the “vast majority” have reported male-to-male sexual contact, according to McQuinson.
The most common symptoms of monkeypox are a rash followed by malaise or fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes, while other symptoms include chills, headache and muscle aches, she said.
There were 39 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Virginia on Wednesday, according to CDC data. As of mid-May, there was only one new case of monkeypox reported daily on a rolling weekly average in the United States. By mid-June, it was hitting a one-week rolling average of 10 new cases per day, and as of Wednesday, 268 new cases were reported as a rolling weekly average, according to data from global.health.
A few days ago, the CDC hosted an information call with 10,000 clinicians so they would know accurate information on how to recognize and treat the disease. This week, the Virginia Department of Health changed the way it allocates and orders monkeypox vaccines to allow districts to order doses for clinics and vaccination efforts by providing the vaccines to health districts. depending on various factors such as the number of cases and the number of people at risk. populations, according to information provided by Logan Anderson, spokesperson for VDH.
The state had received more than 7,170 vaccine doses and distributed more than 3,100 to health districts as of Monday, according to Anderson’s information. Further doses of vaccines are expected in the coming weeks.
The LGBT Life Center of Norfolk is one of the groups committed to health groups in the state.
Tyler Neal, a member of the centre’s marketing team, said a big part of their job these days is to share reliable information and make sure stigma doesn’t develop about the disease. .
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“There are some things we have learned from COVID and the HIV epidemic about how we need to be careful in our language and in our messaging because it only makes health outcomes worse for all. of the community,” they said.
Neal said that means avoiding an “us versus them” mentality that could cause some to ignore symptoms or tests. Monkeypox is not sexually transmitted and it is not just members of the gay community who have contracted it, according to Neal.
“So these [gay and bisexual men who have sex with men] may be disproportionately affected, but these are not the only populations affected by monkeypox.
The center also shares a phone number that Tidewater residents can call if they think they have been in contact or show signs of monkeypox – 757-518-2700. A health service worker will ask for symptoms and assign treatment over the phone to limit exposure.
The country had the capacity to provide 6,000 tests per week when the first case was reported in mid-May, according to Becerra. Now between 60,000 and 80,000 tests can be performed each week, he said. Becerra said the country also has a stockpile of 1.7 million treatments and HHS has purchased an additional 5.5 million monkeypox vaccines on top of the more than 1 million now made available. local and state health districts, according to Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary. for preparedness and response to HHS. She said all 5.5 million doses should be secured by May 2023.
Becerra said Thursday they are monitoring monkey pox to see if it meets the criteria for a public health emergency. Additionally, there is more testing capacity, vaccines and treatments available than cases right now, he said.
“We will weigh any decision to declare a public health emergency based on the response we see across the country, but ultimately we need to stay ahead of the curve and be able to end this outbreak.” , Becerra said.