Infectious Disease

US to release 1.8 million more doses of monkeypox vaccine

August 18, 2022

2 min read

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Disclosures:
Becerra, Fenton and Walensky report no relevant financial disclosures.

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The United States will release an additional 1.8 million doses of monkeypox vaccine starting Monday and will make up to 50,000 doses available upon request for large LGBTQ events, health officials announced Thursday.

The 1.8 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine will come from 360,000 vials, which will be available to jurisdictions that have adopted intradermal delivery of the vaccine and have used 90% or more of their current supply, White House national monkeypox response coordinator Robert Fenton said during a press briefing.

Source: CDC.gov.

US health officials announced plans to ramp up monkeypox vaccine distribution. Source: Adobe Stock.

“More shots in arms is how we get the outbreak under control,” Fenton said.

Officials last week announced a plan to allow the vaccine to be delivered in fractional doses — five doses drawn from each one-dose vial — to extend the supply.

A new HHS pilot program will allow US jurisdictions to request additional doses of vaccine above their regular allotment for events drawing large LGBTQ crowds, and the CDC will offer support to prepare for the events, including help with vaccine and testing strategies, officials said.

Jurisdictions hosting these events can request to receive additional vaccine doses “based on the size and nature of the event and the ability to reach attendees who are at the highest risk of monkeypox” — largely men who have sex with men, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said during the briefing.

“I want to emphasize that while we are offering the vaccine at these events to those at high risk, this is a two-dose vaccine series and receiving the vaccine at these events will not provide protection at the event itself,” Walensky said.

She said scientists are still learning about the vaccine’s effectiveness against monkeypox in this outbreak, but that it is expected to be most effective 2 weeks after the second dose.

“Although we anticipate vaccines will provide protection, temporarily avoiding or reducing behaviors that increase your risk of monkeypox exposure is important, especially between your first and second doses of vaccine,” Walensky said.

She said jurisdictions requesting doses for LGBTQ events will need to address how they will approach monkeypox education and awareness and address vaccine equity.

HHS will also make 50,000 doses of the treatment TPOXX available “in jurisdictions where the outbreak is most severe,” Fenton said.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, who declared the outbreak a public health emergency earlier this month, said more than 1 million doses of the vaccine and more than 22,000 courses of TPOXX have been delivered in the US so far. He said US labs have the capacity to conduct 80,000 monkeypox tests per week.

As of Wednesday, more than 39,000 cases of monkeypox had been reported globally, including more than 13,500 cases in the US, Walensky noted. Wyoming is the only US state that has not reported a case.

Walensky said 98% of US cases have occurred in men. Among cases with available data, 93% have occurred among men who reported recent sexual contact with other men, nearly 35% were white, 33% were Hispanic and nearly 28% were Black, Walensky said. The median age of the patients is 35 years.

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