Jul 27, 2022 - Health

U.S. approves nearly 800,000 more doses of the monkeypox vaccine

Doses of the Smallpox and Monkeypox Vaccine, by the company Jynneos.

Doses of the smallpox and monkeypox vaccine, by the company Jynneos. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Nearly 800,000 more doses of the monkeypox vaccine will soon be made available for distribution, U.S. health officials announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Federal authorities have faced criticism for being too slow to react to the spread of monkeypox, the Associated Press reports.

Details: The Food and Drug Administration gave the greenlight to manufacturing facility that fills the Jynneos vaccine, which has been approved to treat smallpox and monkeypox, allowing them to make more of the vaccine available.

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will make 786,000 vaccines available as soon as possible, HHS secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Wednesday.
  • Allocations will be announced Thursday, he said.

The World Health Organization declared on Saturday that monkeypox, which has spread to more than 70 countries, is now a global emergency.

What they're saying: “This action by the FDA is a critical step forward in our plans to strengthen and accelerate our monkeypox response, which includes distributing a safe and effective vaccine to those at highest risk of exposure to monkeypox," Becerra said.

The big picture: Critics have compared the slow response from federal officials to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, AP reports. But the United States had more than 1 million doses in stockpile for monkeypox, which was not the case with the novel coronavirus.

  • The U.S. only had 2,000 vaccine doses on hand for monkeypox when the outbreak began in May, AP reports. It has since looked to increase the available doses for widespread distribution.
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