We Don’t Need a White House Monkeypox ‘Coordinator.’ We Just Need the Vaccines.
We’re up to about 3,600 known cases of monkeypox in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s more than double the number of cases from just two weeks ago.
As the federal government struggles to distribute vaccines where they’re needed, The Washington Post reports that the White House is thinking of declaring a public health emergency and naming a “White House coordinator” to oversee the response.
The public response should be: Please don’t. Please just get the vaccines to local public health agencies and let them deal with it. Because right now, that’s about half the problem that’s causing monkeypox to spread.
Red tape from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC left more than a million monkeypox vaccine doses stuck in storage in Denmark, and then another roll of red tape made it incredibly difficult for doctors to prescribe an alternative monkeypox treatment because it’s still in clinical trials.
As a result, local health agencies have had to carefully portion out vaccines to the highest-risk citizens—and they’re still running out. In Los Angeles, the county Public Health Department will only administer to people who are infected, people who have had high-risk contact (typically sex) with somebody who is infected, and then gay or bisexual men or trans people who fit in one of the following categories:
- They were diagnosed with gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past 12 months (this was previously limited to within 3 months and specific to rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis); or
- they are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis; or
- they attended or worked at a commercial sex venue or another venue where they had anonymous sex or sex with multiple partners within past 21 days.
And yes, you may be asked to provide documentation that you went to a sex party.
Full monkeypox vaccination requires two doses. But because of the shortage, Los Angeles is giving out as many first doses as it can and will worry about getting those second doses later. New York City is doing the same.
It should be clear from the above that local health agencies have a good sense of who is most at risk (almost entirely men who have sex with men) and how to prioritize vaccinations. What they need, clearly and obviously, is the vaccine. What they need from the White House is to break the logjams at the CDC, the FDA, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The New York Times reported Sunday that the federal mismanagement of the vaccine stockp
Article from Reason.com