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Two San Francisco politicians have criticized the Biden administration for its response to the US monkeypox outbreak.
In a joint statement, Sen. Scott Weiner and Rep. Matt Haney wrote that the federal government had suffered another “public health failure.”
“Monkeypox is a growing public health concern in our community. While the virus can infect anyone, it particularly affects gay and bisexual men. We have very little time to contain this outbreak and prevent it from spiraling out of control and potentially becoming endemic. ‘ the couple said.
“The good news is that we have an effective vaccine that prevents monkeypox,” they continued. “The bad news is that the federal government has again had a public health failure, this time by failing to order enough vaccine doses to prepare for this predictable outbreak.”
The Senate housing leader and Haney – who represents California’s 17th assembly district – called for a dramatic increase in the supply of available vaccines and rapid distribution to the hardest-hit communities.
While experts warn everyone is at potential risk of infection, most new cases have been seen in gay or bisexual men.
In Europe, where cases have exploded, a senior adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) said in May that monkeypox was likely transmitted through sexual activity at raves.
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Since then, the United Nations health agency has reported more than 6,000 cases in nearly 60 countries around the world.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 791 confirmed cases of monkeypoxvirus and orthopoxvirus in the United States
In response, the Biden government has ordered doses of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine.
On Thursday, it announced it would make an additional 144,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine available to states and jurisdictions.
In early July — following Pride events in June — the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ordered an additional 2.5 million doses.
However, slow testing and shortages of supplies have hampered the ability to monitor case numbers, and The New York Times notes that the number of monkeypox cases in the US is likely to be much higher.
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There is also the problem of monkeypox, which does not traditionally spread, with patients developing few genital pox.
Monkeypox cases are highest in California and New York.
New York City’s online system for vaccination appointments went rogue last week and doses were not widely distributed.
Cases have also risen in the Bay Area and across the Golden State, but community and LGBTQIA+ leaders have said vaccine shortages are exacerbating the situation.
According to SFGate, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation reportedly only received 60 doses of Jynneos.
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“The federal government needs to dramatically increase supplies of the vaccine and get it distributed to affected local communities as soon as possible,” Weiner and Haney urged.
“We have no time to lose. It is totally unacceptable that the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other community clinics receive so few doses,” they added. “We need a sufficient supply of vaccines for everyone at risk to have access.”