APLA Health Calls for Increased State and Federal Resources to Address Growing Monkeypox Outbreak
August 18, 2022 – Today, APLA Health led a group of over 50 organizations in sending a letter to Governor Newsom and legislative leaders calling for additional funding and resources to address the growing monkeypox virus (MPV) outbreak in California. According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), new MPV cases in the state have more than doubled in the last two weeks alone. Over half of all confirmed cases are among Blacks and Latinos.
With the current legislative session ending later this month, APLA Health and partner organizations are urging lawmakers to take immediate action to halt the course of the current outbreak and prevent MPV from becoming further entrenched in the LGBTQ+ community and other vulnerable communities across California. Specifically, the letter calls on the administration and legislature to:
- Allocate $38.5 million to support MPV response activities at CDPH and local health departments: This includes scaling up outreach and education efforts, standing up vaccination clinics, supporting emergency staffing, improving data collection and analysis, and accelerating access to treatment.
- Provide reimbursement for MPV vaccine administration: Vaccines are currently being distributed by the federal government, but there is no dedicated funding for the significant costs associated with vaccine administration at community clinics like APLA Health with large numbers of LGBTQ+ patients.
- Require paid leave and financial support for those affected by MPV: Similar to COVID-19, California should provide disability and paid leave benefits to those who need to take time off work to be vaccinated, seek testing, isolate due to a positive diagnosis, or care for a family member or loved one affected by MPV.
- Make publicly available demographic data on vaccine administration and treatment access: Concerning reports were released last week indicating that in some parts of the country, Black and Latino LGBTQ+ community members are receiving a fraction of the limited vaccine supply in comparison with their white peers.
APLA Health also continues to ramp up pressure on the federal government to improve its response to the MPV outbreak. On July 20, APLA Health CEO Craig E. Thompson was joined by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Supervisor Hilda Solis, and local LGBTQ+ leaders for a press conference to demand stronger leadership from the federal government. APLA Health also endorsed a letter from more than 100 members of Congress urging the Biden administration to dedicate $100 million to support MPV response efforts.
This week, APLA Health strongly supported a letter from Congressman Adam Schiff and 10 members of the L.A. County Congressional Delegation to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra highlighting the urgent need to procure and distribute additional MPV vaccine doses – particularly for areas like L.A. County that have been hardest hit by the current outbreak. L.A. County announced yesterday that it received an additional 28,000 vaccine doses, significantly less than originally expected. The federal government announced today that additional doses will become available beginning next week.
Our dedicated staff remain on the frontlines of the MPV outbreak providing the LGBTQ+ community with desperately needed education and resources, testing, vaccination, and treatment:
- APLA Health to date has administered over 1,300 vaccine doses and we remain committed to vaccinating as many of our patients and community members as possible.
- Our providers have diagnosed numerous patients with MPV and helped to ensure they have access to high quality care and treatment – including TPOXX.
- Our prevention staff are distributing timely information and resources to the LGBTQ+ community at outreach events across L.A. County.
- Our website continues to include the most up-to-date information about the current outbreak, vaccine access, and other critical updates.
APLA Health’s patients and clients are bearing the brunt of this public health crisis. Your donation today will enable us to test, treat, and vaccinate our community and fight for the government funding and resources we need. Thank you for your support!