US monkeypox response draws criticism

In stark contrast to the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, the United States is struggling to get the monkeypox vaccine available to people who are looking for it.

As of Saturday, there were just over 5,000 confirmed cases of the virus, which spreads through skin-to-skin contact. Most cases have been reported in men with multiple same-sex partners. Despite concerns about the spread of the virus, many are reporting a challenging process of obtaining a vaccine, with concerns about long waits and the overall process to obtain one.

According to CNN, one person who received the vaccine reported that it took two days and hours of paperwork and waiting to receive the free vaccine. To make matters worse, testing is not free and treatment is difficult.

Still, the Biden-Harris administration is working to get things moving more efficiently, with testing capacity increasing to 80,000 per week. The administration also reduced the documentation required to avoid additional delays in the treatment known as TPOXX.

Whoever meets the requirements first must register via an online portal.

About 1.5 million people are eligible for a two-dose vaccine, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that just 338,000 vaccines had been shipped as of Saturday. HHS plans to allocate an additional 786,000 once it receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

“Our goal is to stay ahead of this virus and end this outbreak,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Another aspect hampering the rollout of the vaccine and information about treatments and testing is the stigmatizing language surrounding the virus. Many early cases of the virus occurred in gay, bisexual, and extra male same-sex relationships.

The language used can make monkeypox sound like a disease that primarily affects the LGBTQ+ communities. Many have compared the language to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which stigmatized gay men.

Factfile on the current outbreak of monkeypox worldwide, as of July 29th
Factfile on the current outbreak of monkeypox worldwide, as of July 29th
Photo: AFP / John SAEKI US monkeypox response draws criticism

Fry Electronics Team

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