U.S. President Joe Biden has appointed two top federal officials to coordinate the government’s response to monkeypox, the White House said on Tuesday, as more states declared emergencies to help to promote vaccines and other resources to combat the virus.
Top officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will coordinate the US response through the federal government, even though the government has not declared a national emergency.
The appointments come as the United States seeks to beef up vaccination efforts to stem the spread of an outbreak of monkeypox that has infected more than 5,800 people.
“In the coming weeks … the administration will move forward and accelerate the United States’ response to monkeypox to mitigate the spread of the virus, protect people most at risk of contracting it, and care for those affected,” the statement said. White House in a statement.
California and Illinois announced a state of emergency over monkeypox on Monday, following New York’s declaration last week.
Robert Fenton, regional administrator for FEMA, will serve as the White House coordinator for monkeypox, and Demetre Daskalakis, chief of HIV prevention for the CDC, will serve as deputy coordinator.
The two will coordinate the response, “including equitably increasing the availability of tests, vaccines and treatments,” the White House said. The government estimates that it may need nearly $7 billion to combat the outbreak, according to The Washington Post.
Unlike when COVID-19 emerged, there are already vaccines and treatments for monkeypox, which was first documented in Africa in the 1970s. However, companies must ramp up production to meet growing demand.