Although the World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, the Biden administration has not issued a national public health emergency.
California is the third and largest state to issue a statewide statement regarding the disease. New York was the first to do so.
“Expanding the pool of eligible vaccinators will significantly support current efforts and support anticipated further vaccination efforts after receiving additional doses from the federal government,” the proclamation said.
“California is urgently working at all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach. Gov Gavin Newsom said in a press release.
California has so far received more than 61,000 vaccine doses and distributed more than 25,000, according to the governor’s press release. Los Angeles County has received its own vaccine allocation, and state officials said California will make additional allocations in the coming weeks.
“We will continue to work with the federal government to get more vaccines, raise awareness about risk reduction and assist the LGBTQ community in the fight against stigma,” the California governor said.
California is using testing, contact tracing and vaccine infrastructure built for the Covid-19 pandemic to respond to monkeypox outbreaks, Newsom’s office said.
The CDC has made the prescription antiviral drug tecovirimat available to patients with monkeypox who are at risk for serious illness, but access is limited in California. Now the treatment can be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state, officials said.
California has also expanded its monkeypox testing capacity and can process more than 1,000 tests per week, according to Newsom.
In mid-July, the California Department of Health requested 600,000 to 800,000 additional monkeypox vaccine doses to increase suitability for both confirmed and probable exposures, as well as for high-risk individuals.
The health department “hopes that the federal government will provide additional vaccine to meet the state’s request,” it said in a news release Friday.
Last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services had delivered more than 336,000 doses of Jynneos — an FDA-approved vaccine against smallpox and monkeypox — from its strategic national stockpile.
Health authorities across the country have focused on educational efforts to educate Americans about how monkeypox spreads.
A large number of cases in this outbreak were in men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men, and public health officials are focusing their prevention efforts on this group. The virus is not unique to this community, but the nature of its spread through close contact has resulted in a disproportionate impact.
“Our team is also committed to reducing stigma among the LGBTQ community, which has been singled out and treated unfairly because of this outbreak. No single person or community is responsible for the spread of a virus. Monkeypox can affect anyone as it spreads. spreads through skin-to-skin contact, as well as sharing items such as clothing, bedding and towels,” said California public health official Dr. Tomás Aragon in a statement from Friday.
Following the California emergency declaration, Equality California, a major nonprofit for LGBT rights, applauded the governor’s move, noting in a statement that the virus is “gay, bisexual and gay men here in California and across the country.” still disproportionately affected.”
Earlier Monday, state senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, and members of the LGBTQ caucus on Newsom called for $38.5 million in an emergency budget to support the local response to monkeypox.
Andi Babineau and Cheri Mossburg of CNN contributed to this report.