White House officials are facing mounting criticism over the response to the Monkeypox outbreak. They announced Thursday an additional 1.8 million vaccine doses will be available next week.
"Here's what we do want all Americans to know: it's important that we all take Monkeypox seriously and it's critical that we do all we can to keep this virus from spreading," said Xavier Becerra, the U.S. Secretary of Heath and Human Services.
Officials said another 50,000 courses of the Monkeypox antiviral treatment Tpoxx will be made available for states.
The administration is also making 50,000 additional vaccine doses available for large LGBTQ+ events like pride parades. The goal is to reach more gay and bisexual men — a group that has been hit hardest by the outbreak.
Demetre Daskalakis is the director of the CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS.
"This is a multi domain intervention… communication about how vaccine works, strategies to prevent exposure and intervention in the right place means it gets to the right people," Daskalakis said.
Monkeypox continues to spread rapidly, with the total number of cases in the U.S. reaching nearly 14,000.
The influx of new vaccines comes as the White House battles mounting questions over a slow response to the outbreak and its decision to stretch limited supply of the vaccine. The CDC says changing the way the vaccine is administered can help existing doses cover five times as many people.
"This is a precious resource that we want used efficiently and wisely without sacrificing effectiveness. We're working to get everyone to intradermal," said Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director.
The new steps come one day after the CDC director said her agency would undergo a restructuring aimed at restoring public trust that has been damaged by poor communication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.