On monkeypox, health secretary says states ‘have to work with us’

James Krellenstein, founder of PrEP4All, an AIDS advocacy group, said it wasn’t fast enough. He blamed the FDA for failing to act more quickly to increase supplies and for delaying an inspection of a vaccine plant in Denmark.

But dr. Robert Califf, the FDA commissioner, told reporters on Thursday that his agency was moving “much faster than planned,” given that he needed to not only inspect the plant but also make sure the vaccine was effective. “The only thing worse than not having a vaccine,” he said, “is having a vaccine that is widely available and ineffective.”

There is currently no vaccine available. On Wednesday, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Democrat, wrote a letter to Mr. Becerra and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, complained that New Jersey didn’t get its fair share. In a letter received by The New York Times, M. Murphy noted the proximity of New Jersey to New York, where there are more cases of monkeypox than in any other state.

He said his calculations showed that because of this proximity and the number of same-sex households in New Jersey, his state was responsible for 3 percent of the national burden of disease, but was only allocated 2.06 percent of the 131,000 doses that were available. already. “Therefore, we do not believe that New Jersey has received a fair percentage of the available vaccine,” he said. Murphy’s letter said.

Federal health officials say their distribution strategy depends on two factors: how many cases the state has and how many residents are at risk. The formula favors areas with risk groups, including men who have sex with men, who are HIV-positive, or who are eligible for treatment that may reduce a person’s chances of contracting HIV. Jennifer McQuiston, who is helping the CDC lead the monkeypox response.

After more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic, the monkeypox outbreak that began in May has become another concern for public health officials across the country. Congress still hasn’t allocated money to the response – although Senate Democrats did propose $21 billion for Covid Thursday – and the public is tired of hearing about infectious diseases. The Biden administration estimated that another $7 billion would be needed to fight monkeypox.