$7B needed for US to contain monkeypox, White House advisers estimate

The U.S. may need nearly $7 billion to adequately address the monkeypox outbreak, Biden administration officials told Congress this month, The Washington Post reported July 26. 

The estimate was detailed in a memo addressed to the president and obtained by the Post. It was not a formal request for aid to Congress, though it laid out a series of options with various amounts to fund different levels of monkeypox response efforts. 

The U.S. may need $6.9 billion in new funding to mount a response that matches "the scope and urgency of the current situation," officials said in the memo. This amount would enable the nation to secure 19 million new doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine — which is in short supply — purchase more treatments, expand testing and improve vaccine distribution, officials estimate. 

The "medium" response option would require about $2.2 million, which would fund the purchase of some vaccine doses and treatments targeting men who have sex with men, where the outbreak is currently concentrated. Officials said this amount would provide an adequate response if the outbreak does not spread outside vulnerable groups, which health officials have said is not guaranteed. 

The memo also laid out a bare minimum option of $500 million that would allow for the purchase of some vaccine doses and maintain "minimal" operations," according to the Post. 

More than 3,500 monkeypox cases had been confirmed in the U.S. as of July 26, CDC data shows. Calls for billions in spending to bolster the nation's monkeypox response come as the Biden administration struggles to secure as much as $31.4 billion to address the COVID-19 pandemic 

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