Joe Biden told reporters Sunday in South Korea that Monkeypox is “something everybody should be concerned about” in response to a question about the outbreak that has seen small numbers of cases in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia that has been tied to a gay fetish festival in Belgium earlier this month. Belgium has ordered a 21-day quarantine for infected people.
In his response, Biden reveals yet again that he is a puppet of his staff and knows only what they tell him.
Q Mr. President, quick question: What have your health advisors told you your level of concern should be about monkeypox and the cases that are in the United States and around the world?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about. We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, may be available for it.
But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread, it’s consequential. That’s all they have told me.
Later on Sunday as Air Force One headed to Japan from South Korea, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke to reporters about Biden being briefed on the outbreak (via White House transcript):
Q What can you tell us about the President’s briefing so far on monkeypox? And what’s your current understanding of whether there is a national stockpile of vaccine the President referred to?
MR. SULLIVAN: So there — there is a vaccine that is relevant to treating monkeypox. We have vaccine available to be deployed for that purpose.
The — your question was about him being briefed?
Q Yeah. And how often and by whom.
MR. SULLIVAN: So, he has been briefed. I’ve been out on the road, giving him updates based on the written inputs we are getting from our health and medical team and, you know, walking through with him what the — what the current state of play looks like and, as we learn about cases both in the United States and elsewhere, making sure that he’s tracking the picture.
So he’s being apprised on this on a very regular basis and getting inputs from the key members of his health team.
The World Health Organization reported this week that from May 13-21 there are 92 confirmed cases of Monkeypox and 28 suspected cases throughout Europe, North America and Australia.
Confirmed cases are listed for twelve countries beyond Africa (where Monkeypox is originated and is endemic): The United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands and the suspected ground zero for the outbreak, Belgium.
The WHO also lists four African nations that have had endemic outbreaks of Monkeypox this year: the Central African Republic, 5 cases; Cameroon, 25 cases; Nigeria, 46 cases; and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1,238 cases with 57 deaths.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection issued a statement this month on the outbreak:
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to investigate a situation in which a U.S. resident tested positive for monkeypox on May 18 after returning to the U.S. from Canada.
CDC is also tracking multiple clusters of monkeypox that have been reported in early- to mid-May in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including in Europe and North America.
It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox but cases include people who self-identify as men who have sex with men. CDC is urging healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Monkeypox and Smallpox Vaccine
One vaccine, JYNNEOSTM (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex), has been licensed in the United States to prevent monkeypox and smallpox. Because monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, smallpox vaccine can also protect people from getting monkeypox. Past data from Africa suggests that smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. The effectiveness of JYNNEOSTM against monkeypox was concluded from a clinical study on the immunogenicity of JYNNEOS and efficacy data from animal studies. Experts also believe that vaccination after a monkeypox exposure may help prevent the disease or make it less severe.
ACAM2000, which contains a live vaccinia virus, is licensed for immunization in people who are at least 18 years old and at high risk for smallpox infection. It can be used in people exposed to monkeypox if used under an expanded access investigational new drug protocol.
Smallpox vaccine is not currently available to the general public. In the event of another outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S., CDC will establish guidelines explaining who should be vaccinated. For more information about the smallpox vaccine please visit CDC’s Smallpox Vaccination Information for Health Professionals.
Newsweek reported Thursday the CDC has ordered 13 million vaccine doses in response to the outbreak (excerpt):
…The order amounts to a $119 million order for Jynneos vaccines, which are used for the prevention of both smallpox and monkeypox. It was announced by biotechnology company Bavarian Nordic, which makes the vaccine, on Wednesday.
The order will convert bulk vaccines, which have already been made and invoiced under previous contracts with the U.S. government, into freeze-dried versions which have an improved shelf-life.
The total government contract with Bavarian Nordic amounts to $299 million, which would provide 13 million freeze-dried doses.
It’s expected that the first doses will be manufactured by next year with further doses made in 2024 and 2025…