The White House announced new actions on Tuesday to combat the spread of monkeypox including providing vaccines and support to LGBT events across the country.
“The Administration is providing additional vaccines and support to states and cities holding events that convene large groups of LGBTQI+ individuals, specifically gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men,” the White House said in a press release.
The statement continued, “The White House also announced a new pilot to surge vaccine availability and other prevention resources to communities of color in light of recent CDC data showing the disproportionate reach of the virus among Black and Latino gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.”
The White House will be providing monkeypox vaccines to pride events in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Oakland over the course of the next few weeks.
The announcement comes the same week the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed what is believed to be the death of the first patient to have been diagnosed with monkeypox.
The first case of monkeypox in the U.S. was reported on May 18. As of Aug. 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recorded 18,101 cases in the U.S. and 48,844 worldwide. Despite the relatively low numbers and the existence of a vaccine, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declared a public health emergency earlier this month.
There have been more than 39,000 cases reported in countries that have not historically seen monkeypox. The vast majority have occurred in men who have sex with men, but health officials stress that anyone can get monkeypox.
The U.S. has the most infections of any country. About 98% of U.S. cases are men and about 93% were men who reported recent sexual contact with other men.