Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for monkeypox on Monday, allowing the state to access more resources to fight the ongoing outbreak.
The statement will help national and local government agencies work together to raise awareness about monkeypox vaccines and treatment, seek more vaccine doses, and quickly open vaccination and testing facilities.
Emergency medical personnel are also authorized to administer monkeypox vaccines under the proclamation. The authorization is similar to that granted to pharmacists, according to the governor’s office.
“California is working urgently at all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and strengthened community partnerships during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are our priority for vaccines, treatment and awareness,” Newsom said in a statement.
Newsom’s proclamation comes three days after Dr. Tomas Aragon, state public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health, said state officials had not yet committed to declaring a public health emergency during hatching.
Aragon argued at a press conference Friday that the state is using information gathered over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic on virus spread and surveillance to combat the monkeypox outbreak.
While state officials have sought to reassure the public that the risk of contracting monkeypox remains very low, efforts to procure more doses of the Jynneos vaccine against smallpox and monkeypox have hampered a swift effort to curb the outbreak.
The state had received just over 37,000 doses of the two-dose vaccine on Friday, with hopes of receiving an additional 72,000 doses as early as this week.
Los Angeles County has also already received or expects to receive more than 50,000 doses that are not part of the state total.
But these two totals are far from the 600,000 to 800,000 doses of vaccine Aragon and the Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, asked the federal government last month.
In a letter to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ghaly and Aragon asked for a conservative estimate of the state’s true demand for vaccines.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said Friday that vaccine dose production is expected to increase significantly in the coming weeks after the agency accelerated approval of manufacturing changes and increased production. plant capacity.
Until more doses become available, state officials have focused on getting the first of two doses of the vaccine to as many eligible people as possible to ensure those at high risk benefit the less than some protection.
Those who have already been vaccinated will eventually receive their second dose, but this may be longer than the vaccine’s standard four-week waiting period between doses.
“We thank Governor Newsom for today’s declaration of a state of emergency, which supports California’s response and vaccination efforts to protect Californians from monkeypox,” said Michelle Gibbons, executive director of the County Health Executives Association of California. “We continue to urge our federal partners to expedite the distribution of critical vaccines and provide funding flexibility to local public health departments to protect our communities from this growing public health threat.”
In the Greater Bay Area, cases of monkeypox have been reported in Alameda, Napa, Contra Costa, San Mateo, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma and Marin counties.
According to the CDPH, 786 probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported statewide. Two-thirds of those cases were reported in Los Angeles County and San Francisco alone.
The vast majority of monkeypox cases are in gay or bisexual men between the ages of 25 and 54, according to state data. More than 80% of the total cases have also been detected in white and Hispanic or Latino people.
Health officials have stressed that the virus is not specific to any sexual orientation and is spread primarily through skin-to-skin contact rather than more intimate activities like kissing or sexual activity.
CDPH information on who is eligible to be tested for monkeypox, who is eligible to be vaccinated and symptoms of the virus can be found at cdph.ca.gov.