As of July 29, there have been more than 5,000 instances of monkeypox confirmed in the United States, and as testing becomes more widespread, that figure is anticipated to rise.
Health officials are dispersing doses of a vaccine authorized for both monkeypox and smallpox in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease, but tales of difficulty scheduling appointments due to demand outstripping supply have plagued the public health response.
Monkeypox was declared a health emergency in New York City, New York State, and San Francisco in an effort to direct more resources toward the outbreak, which is centered in the city. Mayor of New York City Eric Adams estimated that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers are currently in danger of developing monkeypox in a news statement on July 30. More than 1,200 persons in the city have tested positive for monkeypox as of July 29.
The Jynneos vaccine, which is being distributed to cities and states, is intended for males who have sex with men and other individuals who may have been infected and are currently more at risk of the outbreak.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been sending more doses of the vaccine to the states as a result of federal officials admitting that there is a shortage of the vaccine. As of July 28, according to HHS, 340,000 doses have been distributed across the U.S., and 786,000 more were expected to be distributed.
The federal government has pledged to make 6.9 million doses available by the middle of 2023, but some critics have expressed concern that the public health response to monkeypox has been much too slow and that it may be too late to stop the disease from spreading widely in the U.S. by the time those doses are able to reach people's hands.
People who are eligible for the vaccine are only receiving the first dosage of the two-dose series in regions where there are many instances, such as San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, DC. According to officials, this will still provide protection against monkeypox and is consistent with how other nations, such as Canada and the UK, have responded.
The precise requirements for who should receive a monkeypox vaccine depend on the city or state one reside in and the severity of the outbreak there, but in areas like New York, males who have sex with men and who have had several or anonymous sexual partners in the last two weeks are eligible.