As part of the state’s ongoing response to the monkeypox outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency today to help the state’s vaccination efforts. The proclamation backs the work that the California Department of Public Health and others in the administration are doing to coordinate a whole-government response to monkeypox, find more vaccines, and lead outreach and education efforts on how to get vaccines and treatment.
“California is working quickly at all levels of government to stop the spread of monkeypox,” said Governor Newsom. “We are using our strong testing, contact tracing, and community partnerships that were built up during the pandemic to make sure that vaccines, treatment, and outreach are focused on those who are most at risk.” “We’ll keep working with the federal government to get more vaccines, raise awareness about lowering risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community to fight stigmatization.”
To get more people vaccinated, the proclamation lets Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers give out FDA-approved monkeypox vaccines. This is similar to how pharmacists are now allowed by law to give out vaccines. The state’s response to monkeypox uses the infrastructure that was built during the COVID-19 pandemic to set up vaccine clinics and make sure that local and community-based organizations work together to reach out to everyone.
Last month, people in charge of public health in California asked federal partners to give the state more vaccine doses as soon as possible. This is so that the state can expand eligibility to include both confirmed and likely exposures, as well as people who are likely to get the virus. So far, the state has given out more than 25,000 doses of the vaccine, and more will be given out in the next few days and weeks. Vaccines have been given to Los Angeles County in a separate batch.
More than 61,000 doses have been sent to the state as a whole. Together with locals, the state is also helping with overall vaccination efforts by helping to provide staff and mobile clinics. The state gives doses to local health departments based on several things, like how many cases of monkeypox have been reported in an area and how many people are thought to be at risk.
As of July 28, the state was able to do more than 1,000 tests a week, which was more than it could do before. Leaders of the state’s public health labs have been working with local public health, academic, and commercial labs to increase the number of testing spots and make sure they are coordinated with the public health response.
CDPH is also making more treatments available. Access to the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat (TPOXX), which is used to treat monkeypox, is limited, but the treatment can now be given at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state.
The state continues to reach out to people and teach them about monkeypox and how to stop it from spreading. The state has held several webinars for local health departments, community-based organizations, and other health care providers. It has also gone to several town halls and community meetings to talk with the public and local leaders and hear what they have to say.
CDPH is also planning to meet with people from the LGBTQ community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is running paid ad campaigns on different digital media platforms to raise awareness and get people involved in communities that are more likely to get monkeypox.