Biden administration ramps up monkeypox vaccination amid rising cases featuring Dr. Gretchen Newman
July 1, 2022
The Biden administration rolled out a strategy to expand vaccination against the monkeypox virus to a greater number of at-risk individuals, as cases of the rare disease continue to climb and outbreaks in major cities across the country worsen. City public health departments reported that demand for the vaccine is still outstripping supply, raising concerns that the administration will struggle to keep up. To date, the CDC has confirmed 306 cases of monkeypox in 28 states and other jurisdictions. California, New York, Florida and Illinois have the highest concentration of cases. The disease, which is largely circulating now among men who have sex with men, causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, but patients can receive antivirals, and all of them have recovered so far. Many epidemiologists and public health advocates say the current case count is understated, driven by difficulties in getting tests to labs and clinicians’ lack of familiarity with a disease that is relatively rare in the U.S. In order to confirm a monkeypox case, clinicians must submit a sample to a laboratory in the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network, which can become complicated in big states, rural areas or where medical staff lacks training. “We haven’t had any cases yet in Michigan, but we are all – including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – aware that we are vastly undertesting,” said Gretchen Snoeyenbos Newman, M.D., an assistant professor of infectious disease at Wayne State University. “The process for testing has been somewhat unclear and a bit cumbersome,” she said, adding that the state health department is actively working on improving that. “Information needs to go out both to providers and to the community.”
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