UPDATED 8:46 AM PT – Wednesday, August 31, 2022
As the US reported it’s first death of a monkeypox patient, the White House announced new measures to do more to reach those most at risk. The National Monkeypox Response team rolled out new actions the Biden administration is taking to combat the outbreak and protect individuals most at risk.
On Tuesday, health officials announced the administration is providing additional vaccines and support to cities holding events that attract large groups of LGBTQI-plus individuals. The Department of Health and Human Services along with the CDC have all been working with state and local governments to help prepare for pride events coming up in New Orleans, Atlanta and Oakland in September. An additional 5,500 vaccines will be sent to Georgia, 6,000 will be supplied to Louisiana and 2,400 vaccines are going to California.
Officials also announced a new equity intervention pilot to increase vaccine availability and other prevention resources to communities where the outbreak has been most severe.
“Jurisdictions that have used more than 50 percent of their delivered vaccine qualify for an allocation of vaccine to support up to five smaller equity interventions that reach populations that could benefit from monkeypox prevention,” explained Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Coordinator of White House National Monkeypox Response. “So what we mean by an equity intervention is: what works in your state, county, or city to reach people who we may not be reaching.”
Meanwhile, the announcement came the same day Texas health officials announced they are investigating whether monkeypox played a role in the death of a patient recently diagnosed with the virus. The patient was “severely immunocompromised” and autopsy results are going to take weeks, but if confirmed it would be the first monkeypox death to occur in the US.
“I think it’s important to emphasize that deaths due to monkeypox, while possible, remain very rare,” stated Jennifer McQuiston, Deputy Director of the CDC Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology. “In most cases, people are experiencing infection that resolves over time and there have been very few desks even reporting globally.”
Meanwhile, according to the CDC, 15 people have died from monkeypox around the globe while there are currently more than 18,000 confirmed cases in the US.