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Rep. Barragán Joins Colleagues to Call on President Biden to Declare Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency, Expand Vaccine Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      

22 July 2022

Contact: Kevin McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)

Washington D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) joined 49 of her colleagues urging President Joe Biden to adopt a robust federal response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak and declare a public health emergency to accelerate a federal response.

While the United States placed an order for almost 7 million monkeypox vaccines, the majority will not arrive for months. This has caused concern that doses needed now will not arrive in time to curb mass infections, especially in the LGBTQ+ community. Rep. Barragán and her colleagues called on the Biden Administration to quickly distribute the United States’ stockpiles of the JYNNEOS vaccine, place orders for more vaccines, and conduct outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. 

“As monkeypox cases rise, it is crucial the Administration move quickly and contain this outbreak before it spreads and harms even more Americans,” said Rep. Barragán. “A robust and coordinated federal response is critical to increase vaccine supplies as we will need millions more vaccines to protect communities most at risk. We must ensure that we protect our LGBTQ+ and other vulnerable communities and have adequate supply to provide for all Americans at risk from an outbreak.” 

In this letter, Rep. Barragán and her colleagues called on the Biden-Harris Administration to:

  • Quickly secure the release of vaccine doses already owned by the United States and ready for distribution; 
  • Continue securing increased vaccine supplies, declare a public health emergency, and consult with Congress for supplemental appropriations as needed;
  • Designate or appoint an interagency coordinator to organize and lead the Administration’s monkeypox response and strategy, collaborate with state and local governments, and ensure consistent messaging to combat stigmatization of the LGBTQ+ community, as cases are occurring mainly, but not exclusively, among men who have sex with men and transgender people.

“In hotspots around the country, such as New York, there are widespread reports of difficulties accessing vaccine appointments due to high demand and a lack of vaccine supply,” the lawmakers said. “Experts have argued that millions more doses beyond what the Administration has already pledged are necessary to sufficiently meet demand, and these doses must be made available on a much faster and more specific timeline.”

In addition to Rep. Barragán, the letter was also signed by Representatives Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Karen Bass (D-CA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jason Crow (D-CO), Danny Davis (D-IL), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Brian Higgins (D-PA), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), John Larson (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Scott Peters (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katie Porter (D-CA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

The letter was also endorsed by the following advocacy organizations: PrEP4All, Human Rights Campaign, Equality California, Silver State Equality, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, and Whitman-Walker Health.

You can read the full text of the letter below: