Editor’s Note: This second paragraph article has been updated with data as of September 1, 2022, with permission from the author.
After the news broke that the United States had declared monkeypox a public health emergency, friends and family began asking me, an infectious disease epidemiologist, if monkeypox was beginning to cause widespread death and chaos. We have ensured that the August 4, 2022 public health emergency declaration is about government resource allocation. Similar to how the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, the US declaration will allow individuals who do not belong to high-risk groups to change something about their lives. I am not asking for that.
By the end of August 2022, more than 19,000 monkeypox cases had been diagnosed in the United States, and the virus had spread to every state. Most cases still occur among men who have sex with men, but the virus is transmitted through non-sexual skin-to-skin contact, putting people in other population groups at risk of infection. There is a federal declaration aimed at slowing the spread of the virus among men who have sex with men and preventing its spread to new communities.
What is a public health emergency?
The president and governors have the power to declare a state of emergency when there is a potentially life-threatening situation and the resources routinely allocated to response agencies are insufficient to deal with the situation. increase.
For example, in late July 2022, Kentucky’s governor declared a state of emergency following devastating flooding in the eastern part of the state. The governor has requested and received federal assistance to help respond to the floods. The declaration did not mean that more floods were to be expected. Additional resources were made available to rescue stranded individuals and provide essential services to displaced persons, such as shelter and drinking water.
Likewise, declaring a monkeypox emergency doesn’t mean the government expects millions more to hit the next month. and other tools.
Does a public health emergency call for public action?
No. The primary purpose of the emergency declaration is to help the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtain more funding and other resources needed to protect the public from a wider monkeypox epidemic. At this point, monkeypox is an emergency to be addressed by US government public health agencies. It is currently not an emergency for the general public. The purpose of the emergency declaration is to prevent monkeypox from becoming a wider threat to public health.
What will the US government do next?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are two key actions taken at this stage of the outbreak.
First, governments will step up efforts to protect at-risk communities by delivering new vaccines more quickly and increasing access to testing and treatment. Officials are also working with the LGBTQI+ community to educate men who have sex with men about reducing their risk of contracting the monkeypox virus.
Second, the state of emergency requires all states and other jurisdictions to share data with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also authorizes Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers to collect data on monkeypox testing and hospitalizations. These measures will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to obtain better data on where monkeypox is occurring so that the vaccine and the antiviral drug Tecovalimat (Tpoxx) can be distributed to states and cities most in need. will be
Will the Declaration Boost Vaccine Supply?
The Jynneos vaccine is the only monkeypox-specific vaccine currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Rising demand for the monkeypox vaccine has depleted most of the world’s existing supply of his Jynneos. It will be months before additional dosages are manufactured. These new dosages are expected to be available by the end of 2022, he said, by mid-2023.
However, the state of emergency is intended to help governments make vaccines available to more people with “a new dose-sparing approach that can increase available doses by up to five times,” an approach called split dosing. It explains that it is possible to use
The package insert for Jynneos vaccine specifies two doses of 0.5 milliliters, four weeks apart. The emergency declaration instead outlines a strategy of administering two 0.1 milliliter doses. If the lower dose is as effective as the highest dose, the same dose of vaccine may vaccinate up to five times as many people.
Split dosing is not a new strategy. During the 2016 yellow fever epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, clinical trials showed that a small fraction of the approved vaccine was as effective in conferring immunity as the full dose. I got
With the current U.S. monkeypox vaccine outbreak, the National Institutes of Health is investigating whether lower doses of the monkeypox vaccine are effective and whether one dose is as protective as two doses. Evaluate what
The state of emergency declaration does not require schools, businesses, nursing homes, or individuals to change their behavior in any way or prepare for any kind of future restrictions.Declaring monkeypox a public health emergency will make more resources available to governments to help protect the public from this epidemic.
This article was authored by Katherine H. Jacobsen, William E. Cooper Distinguished University President and Professor of Health Studies at the University of Richmond.
This article is reprinted from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.
Top photo credit: The purpose of declaring a public health emergency is to prevent monkeypox from becoming a widespread threat to public health. ALIOUI Mohammed Elamine/iStock via Getty Images