Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared monkeypox a public health emergency (PHE), signaling increased urgency as the Biden administration broadens the push to contain the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23, and health officials in many states, including New York, California, and Illinois, have made similar declarations.
The U.S. currently has over 6,600 confirmed cases of monkeypox. The PHE declaration will allow federal agencies more power to expedite the procurement and distribution of vaccines and medications. The Jynneos smallpox and monkeypox vaccine is authorized for use in patients aged 18 and older but allocation through city and public health departments has been sporadic and inconsistent. Antivirals, including tecovirimat (TPOXX) and brincidofovir (CMX001), are currently available through an expanded access protocol administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
ASHP is calling on HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to leverage the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act to allow uniform, nationwide access to monkeypox immunizations by granting pharmacists the ability to order and administer the vaccine. For additional information and tools for responding to the outbreak, visit ASHP’s monkeypox resource page.