The United States has enough vaccines to deal with a potential outbreak of monkeypox and “extra efforts” are not needed to prevent its spread, President Joe Biden said on Monday.
Biden was asked if Americans could expect to see weeks-long quarantines for people infected with monkeypox after several cases were detected this month in North America and Europe.
“No, I don’t think so. Look, we’ve had this monkeypox in larger numbers in the past,” he said at a press conference in Tokyo after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
“Number two, we have vaccines to take care of it. Number three, thus far, there doesn’t seem to be the need for any kind of extra efforts beyond what’s going on.”
Monkeypox, which is not usually fatal, can cause a fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.
The virus, which is endemic in parts of Africa, can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets of bodily fluid from an infected person.
Biden, who is on his maiden trip to Asia as president, said Sunday in South Korea that people should be on guard against the disease, warning it has the potential for a “consequential” impact if it were to spread further.
On Monday, he reiterated his call for people to be careful, but said the situation did not warrant the same emergency response seen worldwide during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just don’t think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with Covid-19,” he said, adding that he believes the United States has enough smallpox vaccine stockpiled.