Massachusetts has one of the nation’s highest counts of confirmed cases 
“It is critical that HHS rapidly increases vaccine distribution, ensures equitable access, and engages state and local leaders in a comprehensive public health education campaign.” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-05) joined colleagues from the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation in calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to step up efforts to address the global monkeypox outbreak through preventative and equitable measures. Massachusetts currently has one of the nation’s highest counts of confirmed cases.

“The monkeypox outbreak is growing and threatening the health of our communities,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “In order to meaningfully stop the virus from spreading in Massachusetts and throughout the country, there must be an intensification in testing, vaccinations, and public health education and greatly improved data tracking.”

Data shows that the virus can and has infected people of all genders, ages, and sexual orientations. This disease is spread through contact or shared use of daily items.

“At this moment, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the opportunity to execute a high-impact public health strategy that will protect people from the disease,” the lawmakers continued. “By teaming up with state and local elected officials, community organizations, and public health experts, you will be better equipped to protect at-risk individuals from monkeypox with a multilingual, destigmatizing, and culturally congruent strategy. Now is the time for aggressive action.”

The lawmakers urged HHS to ensure that hard-hit communities are prioritized for testing and vaccination and called on the agency to collect and disclose disaggregated demographic data—including gender identity, race, and ethnicity—to track whether those who need the resources are receiving them.

The letter, led by Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Representatives James P. McGovern (MA-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), and William R. Keating (MA-09).

To read the full letter, click here.