AS part of California’s ongoing response to the monkeypox outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom on August 1 declared a State of Emergency to bolster the state’s vaccination efforts.
The proclamation supports the work underway by the California Department of Public Health and others in the administration to coordinate a whole-of-government response to monkeypox, seek additional vaccines and lead outreach and education efforts on accessing vaccines and treatment.
“California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach,” said Newsom. “We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigmatization.”
To expand vaccination efforts, the proclamation enables Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are approved by the FDA, similar to the statutory authorization recently enacted for pharmacists to administer vaccines.
The state’s response to monkeypox builds on the infrastructure developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to deploy vaccine clinics and ensure inclusive and targeted outreach in partnership with local and community-based organizations.
Last month, California public health leaders urged federal partners to make more vaccine doses available to the state as quickly as possible so that the state can expand eligibility to both confirmed and probable exposures, as well as to individuals who are at high-risk of contracting the virus. To date, the state has distributed more than 25,000 vaccine doses and will make additional allocations in the coming days and weeks.
Los Angeles County has received a separate allocation of vaccine.
In all, the state has received more than 61,000 doses. The state is also supporting overall vaccination efforts in collaboration with locals, including helping provide staffing and mobile clinics.
The state allocates doses to local health departments based on a number of factors, including the number of reported monkeypox cases in an area and estimate of at-risk populations.
As of July 28, the state had expanded its testing capacity to process more than 1,000 tests a week. The state’s public health laboratory leaders have been working with local public health, academic, and commercial laboratories to ensure testing capacity is increasingly available and coordinated with the public health response.
CDPH is also expanding treatment options. Access to the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) used to treat monkeypox is limited, but the treatment can now be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state.
The state continues outreach and education efforts to inform Californians about monkeypox and ways to limit its spread.
The state has hosted multiple webinars for local health departments, community-based organizations, and other health care providers and has attended various town halls and community meetings to speak with and hear from the public and local leaders. CDPH is also scheduling listening sessions with the LGBTQ community.
CDPH is currently running paid ad campaigns on various digital media platforms to promote awareness and engage communities at higher risk of contracting monkeypox. n