The US has ordered 2.5 million more doses of Jynneos, the Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine to prevent monkeypox, the Department of Health and Human Services said Friday, while acknowledging current vaccine supply does not meet demand as reports emerge about vaccine rollout difficulties amid a spike in monkeypox cases.
The additional order will bring the total number of monkeypox vaccines in the US to 7 million by mid 2023, Dawn O’Connell, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services said in a press conference.
The demand from states and jurisdictions for vaccines is “higher than our current available supply,” said Rochelle Walensky of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , adding she understood the situation was “frustrating” and that the CDC is working to update its strategy to get the vaccine to those who need it most.
The US is also working to increase testing capacity, and has jumped from 6,000 tests to 70,000 tests a week, Walensky said.
Monkeypox cases are on the rise globally and in the US As of Thursday, there were more than 11,000 monkeypox cases in 65 countries, including 1,470 in the US across 44 jurisdictions, Walensky said. The median age of 700 cases for which the CDC has demographic information is 36, while the vast majority of infections have occurred in men who have sex with men, Walensky said. The CDC has been conducting extensive outreach to the LGBTQ community, including listening sessions and working with social networking sites to ensure effective messaging around monkeypox, officials said.
156,000. That's how many monkeypox vaccines the US has distributed as of Thursday, O'Connell said. An additional 131,000 doses will be available for states to order Monday, she said.
Before the western outbreak of monkeypox—a disease endemic to certain regions in Africa—the US had stockpiles of more than 36,000 Jynneos doses, a vaccine approved for both smallpox and monkeypox manufactured by the Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic. In response to the surge in infections, the US in June ordered an additional 500,000 monkeypox vaccine doses, and on July 1, another 2.5 million doses which are set to arrive in the US later this year.
The Food and Drug Administration has faced growing criticism in recent weeks for moving too slowly to complete an on-site inspection of the Danish Jynneos vaccine facility and to approve the release of the vaccines to the US The FDA actually worked to “move up” the timeline for the inspection and approval of the vaccine , which was originally scheduled for sometime in the fall, Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said Friday, adding the agency has moved with “due diligence” to ensure doses are available by the end of July. Activists as well as officials have about the lack of vaccine access in recent weeks, including New York Mayor Eric Adams who asked the White House this week to send more doses to the city, where cases surpass any other state in the US The CDC is moving toward a more "case-based" strategy that focuses on jurisdictions with the greatest number of cases, Walensky said Friday, adding the agency will continue to prioritize vaccine allocation to areas with individuals at high-risk for the disease.
What To Watch For
Cases will continue to rise throughout the month of July and into August, Walensky said. She said this is because the CDC has streamlined its reporting process to make it quicker for states to share case numbers with the agency. She also noted the number of people getting tested will increase, and that resulting exposures from current cases will begin to crop up in the coming weeks.
Monkeypox Vaccine Rollout Is Marred by Glitches in New York (New York Times)
Monkeypox: Here's What You Need To Know About The Rare Virus Found In The US, UK And Europe (Forbes)
Monkeypox Vaccine Delayed After FDA Waited to Inspect Plant (New York Magazine)
Credit: www.forbes.com /