Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday declared a state of emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak in an attempt to bolster the state’s vaccination efforts.
The proclamation enables emergency medical services personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are approved by the FDA, similar to the statutory authorization recently enacted for pharmacists to administer vaccines.
“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,” Newsom said.
As of Monday, a total of 824 monkeypox cases were confirmed in California — the second-highest of any state, behind New York’s 1,390 — while nationwide, the aggregate count was at 5,811, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were roughly 400 cases in Los Angeles County.
Monkeypox is generally spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting from infectious rashes and scabs, though respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during extended physical episodes, such as sexual intercourse, can also lead to transmission, according to the CDC.
Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox, or have been vaccinated for it, may have immunity to monkeypox.
According to health officials, the vaccine can prevent infection if given before or shortly after exposure to the virus.
Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting the virus, according to the CDC.