US Mulls Declaring Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

The Biden Administration is currently mulling whether to declare Monkeypox as a public health emergency amidst rising cases in the United States and globally.

During a press briefing on Friday, White House COVID response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said that a public health emergency declaration on Monkeypox is “ongoing, but a very active conversation at HHS (Health and Human Services).”

“We’re looking at ways in which the response could be enhanced by declaring a public health emergency,” said Jha.

The Public Health Services Act grants Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of HHS, the power to declare a public health emergency, which can facilitate the mobilization of federal financial aid to address a disease outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also recently declared Monkeypox a global public health concern.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US has so far reported more than 2,500 cases of monkeypox in 44 states, which include Washington, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, Washington, D.C. as well as Georgia.

Jha told reporters that the Biden administration had already sent more than 300,000 doses of the Jynneos Monkeypox vaccine to municipal and state health authorities.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer Bavarian Nordic’s plant in Denmark is currently in the process of receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to distribute an extra 786,000 doses across the US.

In a letter to President Joe Biden this week, fifty House Democrats demanded that the government declare a public health emergency in response to the outbreak.

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