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Monkeypox: US declares public health emergency


The U.S. government on Thursday declared a public health emergency to strengthen the response to the monkeypox outbreak that has infected over 6,600 Americans. The announcement will further free up money and other resources to fight the virus, according to the news agency Associated Press.

Xavier Becerra, Head of the Health and Human Services department said that the country is prepared to take response to the next level in addressing the monkeypox virus and urged the citizens to take the infection seriously.

This has come after the Biden administration faced criticism over monkeypox vaccine availability. In major cities, many clinics said that they have not received enough vaccine doses to meet the demand. The White House as quoted by AP said that it has made more than 1.1 million doses available and helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.

Earlier this week, the U.S. government has also named top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as the White House coordinators to combat monkeypox virus.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University said that the declaration of public health emergency is important because it signals the seriousness of U.S. government towards the disease.

Under this declaration, the department can draw emergency funds, hire or reassign stall to deal with the monkeypox outbreak and take action to control its spread, according to AP.

Gostin also noted that this public health emergency can be extended, like what happened during the Covid-19 global pandemic.

The urgency comes with the limited availability of the two-dose vaccine called Jynneos, which is considered as the main medical weapon against the monkeypox disease. The doses are given 28 days apart and currently being administered to suspected people infected with monkeypox, as a measure to prevent symptoms.

The agency also informed that no monkeypox-related death has been reported in the U.S so far, however, few have been reported in other countries. Nearly, 26,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in countries across the world.

 

(With agencies inputs)

 

 

 

 

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