Monkeypox may be here to stay - POLITICO - POLITICO

Monkeypox may be here to stay - POLITICO - POLITICO

Monkeypox may be here to stay - POLITICO - POLITICO
Aug 14, 2022 3 mins, 28 secs

Licensed Vocational Nurse Sophia Mineros administers a dose of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to a person at an L.A.

public health officials tracked the early cases around the country that followed.

But a series of setbacks in the administration’s response — including clunky early testing protocols, slow vaccine distribution, a lack of federal funding to help state and local governments respond to the outbreak, and patchy communication with communities most affected by the virus — allowed the disease to gain a foothold among men who have sex with men, particularly those who have had multiple partners in a short period of time.

Epidemiologists, public health officials and doctors now fear the government cannot eliminate the disease in that community, and they’re warning that they are running out of time to stop the virus from spreading in the U.S.

He said the outbreak has been “full of twists and turns” that have forced federal health officials to continually pivot.

And there are already two FDA-approved smallpox vaccines that can be used against monkeypox, though the full efficacy of the newer Jynneos vaccine is still uncertain.

Its efficacy against monkeypox is also uncertain, so public health officials have not deployed it widely.

2, President Joe Biden rolled out a team to steer the nation’s response to the monkeypox outbreak.

Days later, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra declared monkeypox a public health emergency, and the CDC advised people with the virus or symptoms to “avoid sex of any kind.”.

But all those efforts may still be too little, too late: Public health experts believe there is a high likelihood that monkeypox is here to stay.

“We just don’t have the kind of public health and health care infrastructure to eliminate this,” said Jay Varma, director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response.

But experts say there is increasing evidence that this strain of the virus, which is linked to an outbreak in Nigeria in 2017, has also spread undetected in humans for years, leaving public health officials and doctors racing to catch up with a pathogen that has already adapted to transmitting between people.

Frustrated monkeypox experts have warned for decades that a broader outbreak at some point was likely.

It was not until the end of June that the administration launched a national monkeypox vaccine strategy.

The immediate shortage prompted federal health officials to revisit a seven-year-old study that showed the vaccine could be split up and injected between skin layers, as opposed to underneath the skin, a process that could stretch the vaccine supply.

State and local health officials say the Jynneos vaccine shortage and its clunky rollout, lackluster communications from federal health officials, funding challenges and ongoing workforce shortages exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic have hampered their efforts to contain the virus.

In North Carolina, for instance, freeing up existing Covid funding would allow the state to use its contact tracing workforce on monkeypox and pay additional staff to administer vaccines, especially in Charlotte, the epicenter of the state’s outbreak, Health Secretary Kody Kinsley said.

Some LGBTQ advocates say that, despite their decades of health activism sparked by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, government officials are sidelining their expertise and that, once again, the government’s failure to act quickly has put them in the crosshairs of a new disease.

Federal officials have held a series of phone calls with state officials and health advocates during the outbreak to discuss the administration’s strategy and get feedback on their outbreak response.

He said health officials have used communication and community engagement strategies based on the experience of HIV and other diseases to get the word out about monkeypox through trusted messengers and platforms without creating harmful stigma

“In fact, if you look at the sort of communications that have gone out from CDC and other agencies about this, the language is the frankest it’s ever been in the history of the public health response

Danya Rosario receives a monkeypox vaccine at The Pride Center on Aug

If that happens, some public health experts say they will remain hopeful, considering that the virus doesn’t appear to be spreading easily to household contacts

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