California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday declared a state of emergency due to the spread of the monkeypox virus in order to “bolster the state’s vaccination efforts”.
“California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach,” dpa news agency quoted Newsom as saying in statement on Monday.
According to the latest update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California’s overall monkeypox caseload currently stood at 827, the second highest after the worst-hit New York state with 1,390 cases.
California reported that 98.3 per cent of the positive monkeypox cases were confirmed in men, the majority of whom identify as part of the LGBTQ community. The virus is largely spreading among men who have sex with men as well as transgender and non-binary people.
Newsom’s proclamation makes it easier for the state to coordinate its response to the outbreak and allows EMS workers to administer vaccines.
The Governor’s office said California has distributed more than 25,000 doses of the vaccine out of a total of 61,000 doses received to date.
The Jynneos vaccine in particular remains in short supply across the nation.
The office said more than 30 facilities and providers across the state are offering treatment for monkeypox, though access to the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat is also limited.
“We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigmatization,” Newsom said.
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox, though usually milder. Those infected by the virus initially have a fever, aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
Later they develop a rash, usually starting on the face and then spreading, turning into pus-filled sores before they fall off.