King County in Washington state, which includes Seattle, on Friday declared monkeypox a public health emergency, with more than 270 cases recorded, according to a statement from county director Dow Constantine.
The proclamation, effective immediately, will help boost local health officials’ response efforts to the outbreak, including by allowing more flexibility in hiring and contracting protocols and helping to get vaccines delivered as soon as possible. more doses are available.
According to a provincial monkeypox webpage, vaccine stocks are “very limited” at the moment.
“While the vaccine is being allocated at the federal level and a short-term proclamation won’t bring more vaccine to our region, the emergency proclamation will help public health work with suppliers and community partners to deliver vaccine when larger quantities become available,” it said. a King County press release.
Vaccine supply has been a problem in other parts of the US amid high demand. This week, top officials in the Biden administration announced new steps to accelerate the country’s response to the spread of monkeypox, including boosting the vaccine supply with an additional 1.8 million doses of the Jynneos injection.
And earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use permit, allowing health care providers to change the way the vaccine is administered, expanding its supply.
In King County, health officials say they have been responding to the monkeypox outbreak since May 23, when the first case was identified.
Dennis Worsham, interim public health director for Seattle and King County, said it’s important that public health leaders have the flexibility they need “to be able to respond and reach the most affected communities, including ensuring equal access to vaccines.”
“Removing procedural barriers will help us be as effective as possible as we anticipate a continued busy decline for public health, healthcare providers and community partners, including the potential rollout of new COVID-19 boosters, flu shots and the prevention of more cases of MPV in our community,” Worsham said in a statement.
The Biden administration, sometimes criticized for its handling of the outbreak, declared monkeypox a public health emergency in early August, following on from other cities and states that had already declared the outbreak an emergency, including New York City, San Francisco, California and Illinois.
The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak in July a public health emergency of international concern.