Kyiv, Ukraine U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice Chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, released the following statement after the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of a global health emergency for monkeypox, reports of the first pediatric cases of monkeypox, and cases in Chicago exceeding 200:
"Monkeypox cases are rising rapidly in the United States and in Illinois' Fifth District. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, a large proportion of the cases in Chicago are concentrated in the North Side, which I proudly represent. I have heard from many constituents that there are not enough monkeypox vaccines to go around, and treatments that exist for individuals who contract the virus require onerous amounts of paperwork to obtain. It is past time the federal government treat monkeypox with the urgency it deserves. Monkeypox has thus far primarily spread among men who have sex with men. It is vital that we do not perpetrate any of the shameful public health mistakes toward this population that the federal government has made in the past. Today, I am calling on President Biden and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to declare a public health emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak and to use other authorities at their disposal, such as the PREP Act, to ensure treatment gets to all who need it. We must stop the spread of this virus now."
Quigley previously sent a letter to President Biden calling for him to declare a public health emergency (PHE) in response to the monkeypox outbreak and to act with urgency to ensure that approximately one million doses of ready-to-administer JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine arrive in the U.S. expeditiously and get to individuals who need them. He also called for a clear, urgent plan to fill-and-finish the additional 15.1 million doses of JYNNEOS vaccine that exist in unfinished form.
Declaring a PHE would unlock certain authorities that Congress created under the Public Health Service Act to respond to a significant outbreak of infectious disease. Examples of those authorities and flexibilities are:
Allow for the streamlined use of public health emergency funds;
Give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention access to the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund;
Permit flexibilities in the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP programs as appropriate to respond to a disease outbreak;
Permit flexibilities in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program to respond to a public health emergency;
Make temporary personnel appointments to positions that directly respond to the Public Health Emergency;
Limit liability of health care professionals who are members of the Medical Reserve Corps; and
Waive certain requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act.