Monkeypox failure: Lawmakers press Biden Administration

Members of Congress from all political parties have criticized the Biden administration for failing to properly manage the monkeypox outbreak.

Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization(W.H.O.

Last week, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) declared an emergency worldwide over monkeypox. This virus appears to be mostly affecting males who have had sex in the United States. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cited 2,600 confirmed cases, which may not accurately reflect the gravity of the situation due to a lack of testing.

As CNN recently reported, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the “number of monkeypox vaccine doses distributed across the United States has more than tripled since last week,” but the supply from the Biden administration has continued to fall short of the demand. Last week, as many as 132,000 doses of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine were distributed across the nation — not nearly enough to meet the current demand.

According to the Hill, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have since been calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to lay out a more detailed plan on how the administration plans to handle the outbreak. In a letter addressed to Becerra, Sen. Richard Burr (R.-NC) called Becerra’s response “disturbing”.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaks June 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

“The administration has the tools and authorities necessary to combat these threats. Your failures to act are a threat to public health, and especially for gay and bisexual men who are at highest risk,” wrote Burr. “The government failed this population at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we should not fail them again.”

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Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) both sent similar letters to Becerra critical of the administration’s response while 50 House Democrats issued their own letter to President Joe Biden urging him to declare a public health emergency.

“This would allow a variety of authorities to speed up the federal response, tap into additional resources and procure vaccines quickly across the country,” the authors wrote.

On Thursday, HHS released a simple data sheet about the response of the Administration to the monkeypox epidemic. It did not give any indications as to future briefings.

” In the days to come, HHS will strengthen and accelerate the strategy it uses to combat monkeypox. It will also work closely with stakeholders and public health officials in high-risk areas to provide vaccines and testing to all communities.

The department also said that testing for monkeypox has steadily risen to 80,000 per week.

In a press briefing on Friday, the White House said they will be seeking to expand access to vaccines and antivirals while Coronavirus Response Coordinator Ashish Jha responded to some of the lawmakers’ concerns.

” We have used all resources available since the outbreak’s earliest days,” Jha stated.

Jha noted that over 300,000 doses of the vaccines have been shipped, and many more doses are expected to arrive from Denmark in a few weeks.

A nurse prepares the Monkeypox vaccine at the Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

” Both the FDA and CDC have worked hard to simplify access to treatment. This will make it more convenient for patients to request it… for them. Jha stated that this is an ongoing effort, but the pace of progress will continue.

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Jha said that the White House is currently discussing whether to declare an emergency of public health.

” We’re looking into that and looking at how the response can be improved, if at all, by declaring an emergency of public health,” he stated. It’s important that we ask specific questions when dealing with emergencies of public health. What would it allow us to do different than what we are doing right now? Would that help us to better respond to the outbreak? I won’t say anything other than .”

that there is a final decision.

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