NEW YORK — More than 100,000 monkeypox vaccine doses are being sent to states in the next few days, and several million more are on order in the months ahead, U.S. health officials said Friday.
They also admitted that the supply of vaccines has not kept pace with demand in New York and California.
Officials predict that cases will continue rising over the next few weeks, as government attempts to cope with an unexpected international epidemic accounting for hundreds more cases each day.
Some public health professionals have started to question if monkeypox is going to become an established sexually transmitted disease.
” All of our current work is to stop that,” stated Dr. Rochelle Walsky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Monkeypox can be found in many parts of Africa. It is an endemic disease where humans have been infected by bites from small rodents and other animals. This virus is not easily spread among humans.
But this year more than 12,000 cases have been reported in countries that historically don’t see the disease. Although the infections were found in European men who had been in contact with other men, health officials stressed that everyone can get it.
As Friday came to a close, over 1 ,800 U.S. case had been reported. Each day, hundreds more cases are added. According to the CDC, almost all of the cases are male and most had experienced same-sex.
Experts think the case numbers may be undercounted.
Walensky stated that she expects cases to increase at least through August. This is partly because symptoms can develop in three weeks after someone becomes infected.
The virus spreads mainly through skin-onskin contact. However, it is also possible to transmit the virus through touch of linens that have been touched by someone suffering from monkeypox.
People with monkeypox can experience bodyaches, fevers, chills, and fatigue. Numerous people infected have experienced zit-like bumps all over their bodies.
No one has ever died and many people have been able to live with the disease. However, some lesions may be painful and can cause scarring. Dr. Mary Foote is the medical director of New York City’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response.
When the virus was discovered in May, officials from the United States had just 2 ,000 vaccines for monkeypox.
Officials recommend that the shots are given to anyone who suspects or knows they have had monkeypox within the past two weeks. Some cities have seen a surge in demand for vaccinations. The government distributed 156,000 doses nationally as of Thursday, including 100,000 this week. And it expects to start delivering 131,000 more doses by Monday, said Dawn O’Connell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
There also are about 800,000 doses in Denmark that will come to the U.S. soon. The government also announced this month that 5 million doses of the drug will be shipped to America. However, most are unlikely to arrive before next year.
The vaccine Jynneos has not been used widely in an emergency like this and Walensky stated that the government would track its effectiveness.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education provides support to the Associated Press Health & Science Department. All content is the responsibility of the Associated Press.