Washington Post: The White House estimates that it could need $7 billion in order to eradicate the disease.
The Biden administration has estimated that it may need almost $7 billion from Congress to respond to the spread of monkeypox, given “It is urgent and of great importance in the present situation,” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing a White House memo.
According to the outlet, this figure was mentioned in a letter addressed to US President Joe Biden. However, the memo was not intended to be a request for funding from Congress but merely an alternative that Washington could use to combat the monkeypox epidemic. The Post reports that it is the result of discussions between the White House and Congress Democrats about the necessary steps to increase monkeypox vaccination, testing and treatment capabilities.
US officials reportedly believe that the $6.9 billion earmarked for monkeypox response efforts would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to support “Technology transfer and domestic manufacturing of vaccines from end to end.” The issue has gained urgency, given that Jynneos – the only monkeypox vaccine approved for use in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – is currently produced in Denmark and is in limited supply. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, only 190,000.000 doses of the vaccine were delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile as of July 19.
According to US officials, the funding will allow them acquire 19 million more doses of monkeypox vaccination, replenish approximately four million smallpox preparations efforts, and secure additional antiviral treatment, increase testing, and overall improve the response.
The memo also describes a “medium” second option to the tune of $2.2 billion that would use the funds to mitigate the fallout of the outbreak primarily among the members of gay and bisexual community, which monekypox is now affecting the most. The document warns that this would only work if the outbreak remains within the limits.
The Biden administration’s apparent push to stave off the monkeypox outbreak comes as the US has become one of global leaders in terms of confirmed cases of this disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tuesday’s update, put the US total monkeypox confirmed cases at 3,590.
Monkeypox looks similar to human smallpox and can still be found in West and Central Africa. The symptoms of monkeypox include headaches, fever, muscle aches, backache and swollen glands.