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State Officials Approve $41.5M for Monkeypox Testing, Treatment, Outreach

State officials approved more than $41 million this week for monkeypox testing and treatment after state legislators representing San Francisco urged for its inclusion in the state budget.

Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, first called for dedicated state funding for the MPX outbreak in July, when the virus was first taking root in the city.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 179, an amendment to the state’s budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year including $41.5 million for the state’s emergency response to the MPX outbreak.

“Because of the slow federal response this summer, state and local efforts have been key to addressing the MPX virus,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, the chair of the Assembly’s Budget Committee. “This funding not only keeps resources flowing, but it also builds them up.”

As of Friday, the state has tallied 4,302 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus, the most of any state in the U.S. and roughly 20 percent of the 21,894 that have been confirmed nationwide.

San Francisco has remained one of the state’s epicenters during the outbreak, with 763 reported cases comprising nearly 18 percent of the state’s case total. Only Los Angeles County has more reported cases, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.

While MPX vaccine allocation from the federal government has plodded through much of the summer, public health officials have suggested that the outbreak may be starting to wane, with nearly 140,000 vaccine doses administered statewide.

State officials suggested in July that California would conservatively need between 600,000 and 800,000 doses of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox to vaccinate those at highest risk of contracting the virus. Roughly $25.7 million of the funding will go to the CDPH while the remaining $15.8 million will be dispersed to local health departments and community-based organizations.

State public health officials plan to coordinate with local health agencies to determine the most effective way to use the funding to expand testing and vaccine access while also educating people about the risks of spreading and contracting MPX.

“One of the lessons we learned from COVID is that without a coordinated public health response, a virus can rebound,” said Assemblyman Matt Haney, D-San Francisco. “It’s going to take a lot of work to maintain the current downward trend. That’s why this funding is so essential.”

State legislators will determine when the legislative session resumes in January whether to allocate more funding toward MPX response.

Information about MPX and the MPX vaccine can be found at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Monkeypox-Vaccines.aspx


Source: NBC Bay Area

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