Sen. Gillibrand calls on White House to use its power to ramp up Monkeypox vax production

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the U.S. needs "a lot more" monkeypox vaccines, and, she says, "We need them fast."

She’s calling on President Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act of 1950-- which gives the President the power to direct private companies to prioritize orders from the federal government—to ramp up manufacturing of badly-needed Monkeypox vaccine.

"This will help ramp up manufacturing of Monkeypox vaccine and give manufacturers the resources they need to make these vaccines available to more people at a more accelerated rate," Gillibrand said on a call with reporters Wednesday.

The DPA has been utilized a few times in recent years, by President Donald Trump to acquire more ventillators and respirators in the early days of the COVID pandemic, and also by President Biden to ramp up Covid vaccine production.

Gillibrand’s request comes at a critical time in the country—with Monkeypox cases nearly doubling every week.

And health officials, like the New York State Health Commissioner, are stressing that at-risk Americans—which right now includes men who have sex with men—receive two doses.

"You get the first dose, then its 28 days," Bassett said on Good Day New York. "Then you get the second dose, and then you wait two weeks and your immune response to the vaccination really kicks in. And then you’re protected."

However, New York City is still operating under what their calling a "first dose" strategy-- meaning it remains unclear if those who’ve already received one dose will be allowed to get the second dose at the recommended 28 day mark.

But some public health experts—like Dr. Jay Varma with Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Population Health Sciences—believe that is the best strategy, offering some protection to a larger number of people.

"That's not the ideal," Varma told Fox5. "Ideally, we want people to get [fully] vaccinated as quickly as possible. And the harm comes from not having people with that full level of protection. But my personal feeling is that the key is making the right decision in trying to get as many of those first doses into people as possible."