The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is activating its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak. The Biden-Harris Administration has also announced plans to offer more vaccines.
The CDC has activated the EOC as a part of its “aggressive” response to the monkeypox outbreak, it noted in a news release Tuesday. According to the CDC, the EOC “brings together highly trained experts and state-of-the-art technology to coordinate resources, information and crisis and emergency risk communication to strengthen our nation’s ability to detect and respond to public health threats.”
The EOC can also be activated for other public health emergencies such as natural disasters, foodborne outbreaks, oil spills and other disease outbreaks such as the Ebola and Zika virus. It is currently activated for COVID-19, CNN reported. Activating it for monkeypox would “further increase operational support” needed to respond to the outbreak, according to the CDC.
National Monkeypox Vaccine Strategy
The Biden-Harris Administration announced the first phase of its “national monkeypox vaccine strategy” Tuesday, calling it a “critical part of its monkeypox outbreak response.” Under the strategy, the administration plans to offer more vaccines for monkeypox to those who need it most and in the states and territories with the “highest number of cases and population at risk.”
So far, the vaccines have been allocated mostly to those who have had confirmed monkeypox exposure, the White House noted in the statement. In New York, for instance, authorities began offering vaccines for New Yorkers who may have been exposed to monkeypox, but the demand was so high that the walk-in appointments had to be cut off just hours after the launch.
“With today’s national monkeypox vaccine strategy, the United States is significantly expanding deployment of vaccines, allocating 296,000 doses over the coming weeks, 56,000 of which will be allocated immediately,” the White House noted. “Over the coming months a combined 1.6 million additional doses will become available.”
The effort also aims to make testing easier and more convenient for both providers and patients throughout the country by increasing testing capacity “in every community.” So far, it has scaled testing capacity to 78 sites in 48 states. It also began sending tests to five commercial laboratories, “including some of the nation’s largest reference laboratories,” last week.
“The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to working with urgency to detect more cases, protect those at risk, and respond rapidly to the outbreak,” the White House noted in the statement.
In its update on the multi-country monkeypox outbreak Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that there were 3,413 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death logged from 50 countries/territories in five WHO regions from Jan. 1 to June 22. In the U.S., the CDC case count has logged 306 total confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases as of Tuesday, 2 p.m. ET.