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White House to make 1.8 million monkeypox vaccine doses available

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a Senate hearing on June 16. She talked about the White House's new plan against monkeypox on Thursday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/d021acea208c9085a2ab2c664c426242/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a Senate hearing on June 16. She talked about the White House's new plan against monkeypox on Thursday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The federal government will make 1.8 million doses of the monkeypox vaccine available for ordering as part of a series of actions to accelerate mitigation of the virus's outbreak in the United States.

The outbreak has exploded in New York and California with more than 2,000 cases each, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Florida, Georgia and Texas have all recorded more than 1,000 cases each. The agency said the growth has continued to affect the LGBTQ community disproportionately.

"Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services allocated and began distributing another 442,000 doses of vaccine to jurisdictions across the country," the White House said in a statement.

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"The administration is making these doses available ahead of schedule to encourage the rapid distribution of vaccine to individuals at high risk of contracting the virus, particularly gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men."

The administration will be making more vaccines available for jurisdictions hosting large LGBTQ events.

Bob Fenton, the White House Monkeypox Response coordinator, said the effort is meant to increase the existing vaccine supply significantly without compromising safety or effectiveness.

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"Monkeypox case data reported to CDC show that 98% of cases are occurring in men," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Monday. "Of the more than 6,000 cases for which we have data on race and ethnicity, nearly 35% of cases are occurring among those who are white, 33% of cases are occurring among those who are Hispanic, and nearly 28% are occurring among those who are Black.

"The median age of cases is 35. And among cases with known recent sexual history and gender, 93% of cases were among men who reported recent sexual contact with other men."

Walensky said she hopes targeting events that cater to the most affected population with an education component will have a swift impact on turning the tide against monkeypox.

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