Doctors say federal government is preventing vaccinations against monkeypox

Doctors say federal government is preventing vaccinations against monkeypox
Child with monkeypox

A single vaccination for monkeypox can require a hundred pages of government paperwork, doctors say. “The federal government has not only failed to get its act together to bring monkeypox vaccines here from Denmark but also made it a nightmare for doctors to prescribe the vaccines we do have on hand,” reports Reason Magazine. Officially, there are 1,470 cases of monkeypox in the U.S., but the real number is undoubtedly many times higher.

One of the big challenges doctors are facing, besides the lack of availability of one vaccine, is jumping through the appropriate hoops to provide a different vaccine…There are more than a million doses of a vaccine named Jynneos in a storage facility in Denmark that is awaiting approval to be sent to the U.S., even though the facility has already been inspected by European officials.

There’s another drug, TPOXX (full name: Tecovirimat), that can also be used to treat people infected with monkeypox. But access to the drug is restricted ….rules and documentation [are] required to attempt to treat somebody infected using the drug… this process requires physicians to fill out 100 pages of paperwork for each patient they want to prescribe TPOXX to….medical leaders complained that this red tape made it “nearly impossible” to treat potentially hundreds of infected patients. It can take up to three hours to process a single patient just to get them the drug…The blame is being laid on the poor response of President Joe Biden’s administration. Sen. Richard Burr (R–N.C.)… sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra:

Beyond failures in testing, the administration’s strategy to utilize vaccines and treatments that are effective against monkeypox has also been appalling. We have vaccines and treatments that we can use during this response. These tools are available in large part due to the resources the United States has provided for smallpox preparedness through Project BioShield….But securing a stockpile of vaccines is only effective if we are able to get shots in arms.

The number of reported monkeypox infections has almost doubled in just a week. And, again, because of the lack of testing, it’s certainly much higher….Africa has seen at least 73 monkeypox deaths this year. If the U.S. isn’t going to do a competent job of distributing vaccines, it can at least not actively put up barriers to keep others from doing so.

The Biden administration let pointless red tape stop delivery of 1 million monkeypox vaccine doses. “The U.S. may be losing the fight against monkeypox, scientists say…weaknesses in the public health system are giving the virus a chance to become entrenched,” reports the New York Times:

As epidemics go, the monkeypox outbreak should have been relatively easy to snuff out. The virus does not spread efficiently except through intimate contact, and tests and vaccines were at hand even before the current outbreak.

Yet the response in the United States has been sluggish and timid, reminiscent of the early days of the Covid pandemic, experts say, raising troubling questions about the nation’s preparedness for pandemic threats.

The Washington Post earlier reported that “public health experts, including within the Biden administration, are increasingly concerned that the federal government’s handling of the largest-ever U.S. monkeypox outbreak is mirroring its slow and inept response to the coronavirus pandemic 2½ years ago, with potentially dire consequences. As a result, they said, community transmission is occurring largely undetected, and the critical window in which to control the outbreak is closing quickly.”

As it observed, “Public health experts also have criticized U.S. officials for not proactively vaccinating high-risk individuals against the virus, even as other nations have moved more aggressively to do so. Public health experts and activists” had unsuccessfully sought “more-proactive vaccinations in high-risk communities, warning that the outbreak could be amplified as the gay community celebrates Pride Month.”

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at


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