UPDATED 12:15 PM PT – Thursday, September 8, 2022
The White House has launched a new program to distribute additional Monkeypox vaccines.
When speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, National Monkeypox Response Coordinators Bob Fenton and Doctor Demetre Daskalakis, announced that they’ve been seeing a strong progress in vaccine distribution. Additionally, they reported that over 460,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered despite admitting the at-risk population currently sits at 1.6 million people.
“We only have data from 35 jurisdictions,” Dr. Daskalakis said. “That’s just over half of all jurisdictions that are directly receiving vaccine. But over 460,000 doses have been administered. Keep in mind, the population at highest risk is approximately 1.6 million people right now. So even with this partial view we have now from the reporting jurisdictions, we’re seeing strong progress, really getting shots into arms.”
Fenton also announced they were launching a program to address a racial disparity in vaccine distribution and will begin providing vaccines to the LGBTQ community in preparation for upcoming Pride events.
“Our focus now is to reach the remainder of the eligible population where they are – at trusted locations and events across the Country. And equity has to be a key point and priority embedded in throughout our response,” Fenton said. “We are launching a new program that allows local health departments to request vaccines to use innovatively through strategies to reach Black and brown communities. And today, we’re announcing that we’re providing more vaccines to upcoming Pride events across the country.”
Daskalakis and Fenton then went on to address questions about how they will be funding their program, saying they have plenty of money to launch their efforts. However, they implied that additional funding may be required to keep their fight going.
“So we have enough money right now to make the key decisions we need to make. But as this progresses, we need to replenish what we’ve used and be able to have additional funding to keep the fight going,” Fenton said. “The low hanging fruit has been gotten. The folks who are early adopters for this vaccine have gotten it. And now we’re really on to the next level, which is making sure that that everyone who needs it gets it.”
The White House had previously requested $4.5 billion to combat the spread of the virus.