What We’re Reading: SF, NY Declare Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency; COVID-19 Boosters Shelved; Insuring Birth Control

New York state and San Francisco declare monkeypox public health emergencies; COVID-19 boosters set for the summer have been scrapped in favor of fall boosters; HHS announces that insurers must cover birth control.

Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency in San Francisco, New York State

San Francisco and New York state have declared that monkeypox is a public health emergency, as its numbers continue to rise. These declarations come soon after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency. New York and California are home to more than 40% of the nation’s 4907 confirmed cases of monkeypox. Politicians in California said that this emergency declaration will make it easier to expand testing, mobilize resources, accelerate emergency planning, and expand access to vaccines. Currently, vaccines are believed to be effective before and after exposure to the disease.

Summer Boosters Shelved for People Under 50

The FDA is halting plans for a second COVID-19 booster that would be available this summer, instead deciding to focus on fall boosters that would provide immunization to the BA.5 variant. The decision to focus on this new generation of boosters was met with debate, as the FDA tried to balance keeping people in the summer safe while protecting people for next winter, when cases are expected to go up. The FDA believed that 2 boosters so close together may have prevented some from getting both boosters due to vaccine fatigue. Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are currently working with the FDA to have the fall boosters ready for October or November.

Biden Administration to Insurers: Cover Birth Control

The Biden administration warned businesses and health insurance providers in the United States that withholding coverage of contraceptives was against federal law. The HHS clarified by saying that the Affordable Care Act requires all insurance plans to provide free birth control and family-planning counseling to all insured individuals, including states that have banned or limited access to abortion. The warning comes as complaints of women not receiving coverage for their birth control have become more frequent across the country.