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San Francisco declares monkeypox health emergency

Monkey Pox Virus The Focal Point.jpg
The Focal Point
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Flickr / Creative Commons

The declaration, which will formally take effect on Monday, August 1st, will enable the city to expedite emergency planning, staffing and public agency coordination as San Francisco attempts to slow the virus' increased spread.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has reported 281 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox, about a third of the 799 cases that have been reported statewide.

To date, only the larger Los Angeles County has more reported monkeypox cases. As of Tuesday, no other county in the state had reported more than 45.

Unlike the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a vaccine to prevent monkeypox does exist in the form of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine, which was originally developed to prevent both monkeypox and smallpox.

However, vaccine doses remain in extremely short supply, even with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announcing Thursday that the federal government will disperse 786-thousand doses of the vaccine across the country.

State health officials said in a letter sent last week to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that California alone would need at least 600-thousand to 800-thousand vaccine doses, a figure they called a conservative estimate.

San Francisco officials said they expect the city to receive 42-hundred vaccine doses this week, bringing the city's total allocation to date to roughly 12,000 doses. San Francisco Department of Public Health officials had initially requested a conservative estimate of 35,000 vaccine doses.

To date, monkeypox cases have also been reported in Alameda, Napa, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Solano and Marin counties.