The US Department of Health and Human Services waited more than three weeks after the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the US to order bulk stocks of the monkeypox vaccine.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services had an adequate amount of monkeypox vaccines, but health officials seemingly ignored signs that this would become a health emergency. The New York Times reports officials didn’t bottle the medication so it could be quickly distributed. Additionally, the small company in Denmark that manufactures the vaccine worldwide received orders late. But that’s not all: The company gave hundreds of thousands of doses to Europe, which were initially set aside for the U.S.
The monkeypox cases in America continue to increase significantly, with 7,000 reported cases and counting. Scientists believe it will take a minimum of three million vaccines to combat the outbreak, and the country only plans to administer one million. An additional 5.5 million doses were ordered, but only half a million will be delivered in October. The remaining vaccines won’t arrive until 2023.
The White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha was questioned about the U.S.’s response to the monkeypox epidemic on CNN. He said declaring it a health emergency will help speed up vaccinations. “Thankfully, no one has died, so we are still at a point in this outbreak where I do believe that, while it is very serious, it is not something that is reason for widespread alarm,” Dr. Jha said. “The goal of this is still to eliminate this virus — to get it under control and ultimately eliminate it. In terms of vaccines, we have substantially ramped up vaccine acquisition from abroad. There’s one small company in Denmark that makes these vaccines. We have gotten more vaccines than the rest of the world combined. And we’re primarily targeting those vaccines to the community where this virus is spreading.”
While Jha noted that most cases so far have been found in homosexual and bisexual men, he also warned that anyone can contract monkeypox via skin-to-skin contact or exposure to contaminated clothing and bed linen.