(CNN) — The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Friday that it does not plan to renew the public health emergency (PHE) declaration for monkeypox.
“Over the next 60 days, we will focus on supporting jurisdictions and the Department to ensure that the termination of PHE does not hinder response efforts,” the agency said in a statement. “The end of PHE will signal that we are moving out of the emergency phase of the outbreak and into the continued and urgent work of vaccinating those at risk and providing treatment and other support to those affected so that we can move in a sustainable direction.” I can continue to progress.” End of transmission of monkeypox”.
The statement was issued in early August amid criticism that the government had been slow to act on the outbreak, which mainly affected men who have sex with men.
Till Thursday afternoon, 29,603 cases have been reported across the country, in which 17 deaths have occurred. However, fewer than 10 cases per day are now being reported on average, down from a peak of more than 600 per day in early August.
“Given the small number of cases today, HHS does not expect it will be necessary to renew the emergency declaration when it expires on January 31, 2023,” US Health Secretary Javier Becerra said in a statement on Friday. “But we will not take our foot off the accelerator: We will continue to closely monitor case trends and encourage everyone to get vaccinated for free.”
One criticism of the Biden administration’s response to the outbreak is that HHS waited more than three weeks after the first confirmed US case to order bulk stocks of the monkeypox vaccine, because of concerns about its useful life. Since then, more than 855,000 vials of the genius vaccine have been shipped to jurisdictions across the country. An intradermal vaccination strategy allows healthcare workers to receive up to five doses from each vial.
To help combat the potential discrimination and stigma associated with the virus’ original name, monkeypox, the World Health Organization announced Monday that “mpox” is the preferred term for the virus and disease.
CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, MJ Lee and Karma Hassan contributed to this report.