(WTAJ)– The Biden administration has named an official coordinator for the federal response to the monkeypox outbreak, as the number of cases continues to grow nationwide.
A line for the monkeypox vaccine stretched down the block early Tuesday morning in San Francisco. Some of those waiting say the government needs to do more.
“More vaccines, and testing everywhere,” vaccine recipient Santiago Beck said.
The Biden administration announced Robert Fenton, who ran the COVID vaccination effort for FEMA, will coordinate the federal monkeypox response. This, as Illinois and California declared a state of emergency over the virus, following New York’s lead.
“I’m glad we have a state of emergency because the issue has always been how quickly can we get testing vaccines treatments that we need in the ER to contain this, “ Emergency Room Physician Dr. Michael Daignault said.
But what does declaring an emergency actually do? Well, it gets rid of some of the red tape to help fight the outbreak, for example, it authorizes more people to administer vaccines at sites like this health clinic.
That’s only part of the problem. While the administration is distributing 1.1 million doses, officials in California and New York say they don’t yet have enough.
“The order is now allowing more people to administer the vaccine, but you need vaccines to start with,” CA State Senator Dr. Richard Pan said.
In just 10 weeks, the U.S. outbreak has grown to at least 5,800 confirmed cases. Delays for vaccines and testing have been a problem.
“For me personally, it took two weeks to get my test results and that was something very, very frustrating,” Health Educator Santiago Garzon said.
Many of the infected are men who have sex with men, but anyone can catch monkeypox because it spreads primarily through skin-on-skin contact. While rarely fatal, it can be extremely painful.