More than 780,000 doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine will be available in the United States starting tomorrow, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today in a press call.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra urged local and state public health departments to use these doses for preventative vaccination efforts to stay ahead of the virus and end the outbreak, noting that the HHS and CDC do not control how vaccines are distributed at the state and local levels. “We don’t have the power to tell them what to do,” he said on the call. “We need them to work with us.”
To date, 4,907 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, and officials expect cases to continue to rise in the coming weeks.
HHS has already distributed more than 338,000 doses to states and jurisdictions, but the vaccine remains in high demand. The vaccine is made by the small Danish company Bavarian Nordic. These additional 786,000 doses were previously stored in a factory in Denmark, pending the completion of an inspection and clearance of the vaccine factory by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency announced on Wednesday that the vaccine doses and the manufacturing plant were up to standard.
With the announcement of these additional doses, the vaccine allocation plan is also updated to take into account two important factors: the number of high-risk people in a jurisdiction and the number of new cases reported since the last allocation. of vaccines.
“This update gives more weight to prioritizing vaccines in areas with the highest number of people at risk, which includes men who have sex with men who have HIV or who are eligible for PrEP. against HIV, while considering where we’re seeing cases increase,” said Capt. Jennifer McQuiston, DVM, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
McQuiston also provided additional demographic information about the outbreak in the United States. The median age of people with confirmed cases is 35, with a range of 17 to 76. (This does not include the two cases in children reported last week.) Of the cases where sex at birth was provided, 99% were individuals assigned male at birth. In cases where ethnicity and race were reported, 37% were non-Hispanic white, 31% were Hispanic/Latino, 27% were black or African American, and 4% were Asian. The most common symptoms were a rash – present in 99% of cases – malaise, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
HHS and the CDC did not have data on how many people received at least one dose of the monkeypox vaccine. When asked how many people need to be fully vaccinated against monkeypox to contain the outbreak, Becerra did not provide an estimate, but hinted that preventive vaccination could help limit the number of vaccines. needed and expressed optimism that the outbreak will be contained in the United States. “We believe we have done everything we can at the federal level to work with our state and local partners and affected communities to ensure we can stay ahead of the curve and end this outbreak,” he said. he declared, “but everyone has to do their part.”