The Biden administration on Thursday declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency as the virus continues to spread throughout the US.
The announcement came during a briefing with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Ending the monkeypox outbreak is a critical priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. We are taking our response to the next level by declaring a public health emergency,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“With today’s declaration, we can further strengthen and accelerate our response further.”
The declaration could provide access to emergency funds, allow health agencies to collect more data about vaccination, testing, and hospitalization, and accelerate administering vaccines to affected communities across the country. It could be done by using a new dose-sparing approach that could increase the number of doses available up to five-fold.
As of Thursday, the HHS has shipped more than 602,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine against monkeypox to states and jurisdictions. The HHS also announced an additional 150,000 doses would arrive in the US next month.
New York, California, and Illinois have already declared health emergencies over monkeypox. In July, the World Health Organization designated the global outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. In the past, the designation was used for the most severe global outbreaks, such as COVID-19, Zika, or Ebola.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that there are 7,102 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US. The outbreak disproportionately affects men who have sex with men.