New York, NY – On Tuesday, Reps. Nadler and Torres led a letter, joined by Democratic Members of the New York City Congressional Delegation, calling on the Biden Administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to expedite the domestic production of monkeypox vaccines.
As of August 15, 2022, the CDC has reported 31,799 confirmed cases of monkeypox globally and 11,890 domestic cases. New York State accounts for nearly 30 percent of U.S. cases with 2,376 reported cases. The unprecedented rapid spread of this outbreak has led experts to suspect that reported cases are much higher. It has become clear many communities and medical facilities are still not prepared to identify and handle monkeypox cases.
To ensure the health and safety of everyone, as well as the prevention of another crippling pandemic, the President must invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA). Invoking the Defense Production Act would assist in ramping up domestic production of the monkeypox vaccine to meet the increasing demand especially in large metropolitan areas. Invoking the DPA would also make it easier for federal, state, and local authorities to communicate the necessary supplies needed to help curtail the spread of monkeypox. The DPA is invoked over 300,000 times a year according to DoD estimates, and the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the effectiveness of the DPA.
“We appreciate your Administration’s action to declare monkeypox a public health emergency (PHE) on August 4, but it is clear that vaccine demand is quickly outpacing supply throughout the country. In New York, every vaccine appointment has been taken. According to HHS, the government is now distributing about 1.1 million doses, less than a third of the 3.5 million that health officials now estimate are needed to fight the outbreak. It is reported that HHS does not expect the next delivery, of half a million doses, until September. Most of the other 5.5 million doses the United States has ordered are not scheduled to be delivered until 2023. Now is the time to call on extraordinary measures to ensure our vaccine supply can meet the challenges of this moment,” the members wrote in their letter.
“We must learn from the lessons of the past two years and invoke the Defense Production Act now, before the monkeypox outbreak develops into another pandemic,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “The monkeypox outbreak has had the worst effect on our most marginalized communities. The LGBTQ community already experiences disproportionately low health care coverage, and the monkeypox outbreak has proven to almost cripple the community. The Defense Production Act is needed now to help stop this outbreak from becoming disastrous. I am proud to work with Chairman Nadler and the rest of our colleagues in New York City to encourage the President to make this important move to effectively combat the current outbreak. ”
“Our nation is currently facing a two-headed health crisis. On one end, we are roughly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, and on the other, we are seeing a growing outbreak of monkeypox in our cities and across the globe,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “We must use the lessons we have learned over the past years of COVID to make sure that we don’t allow this outbreak to spiral out of control. That is why it is more important than ever for President Biden to use the Defense Production Act to get vaccines to our communities. We have a chance of getting ahead of this, and we have an obligation to make sure that happens. I am proud to join Rep. Torres in leading this letter.”
The letter is signed by Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Hakeem Jefferies, Carolyn Maloney, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Nydia Velázquez.
See the letter attached here.