Aug 18, 2022 - Health

U.S. to accelerate monkeypox vaccine distribution

Families Together of Orange County held a monkeypox vaccine clinic in Tustin, Calif.

A vial of the monkeypox vaccine. Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The Biden administration is speeding up its monkeypox vaccine distribution effort, federal health officials said Thursday.

Why it matters: The Department of Health and Human Services will make an additional 1.8 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine available next week, allowing states and localities to start ordering more vaccine doses sooner than officials originally planned.

  • Jurisdictions that have already used 90% of their supply will be able to order additional doses beginning Monday, the White House said.

Driving the news: Monkeypox vaccines will be made available at big events with high attendance from the LGBTQ community, White House monkeypox response coordinator Bob Fenton said Thursday.

  • HHS also plans to raise awareness about the vaccine and virus at such events.
  • The Biden administration is preparing doses of anti-viral treatment to help those who have already tested positive for monkeypox. Beginning Monday, 50,000 patient courses of the antiviral will be made available, officials said.

What they're saying: "This is important," Fenton said. "It's innovative, the way that we will bolster local efforts to meet people where they are and mitigate the spread of monkeypox."

  • "We know that viruses don't care about state lines, they don't wait to spread," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told reporters. "And so we will continue to do all we can to work together to communicate and share information.

The big picture: Bavarian Nordic, the Jynneos vaccine manufacturer, said Wednesday "it's no longer certain that we can continue to meet the demand" for the vaccine as cases rise.

  • The company is considering outsourcing vaccine production in order to help the rising demand, Bloomberg reports.
  • The U.S. is "working very closely" with Bavarian Nordics over increasing their capacity, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday.

Situational awareness: The CDC has limited eligibility for the vaccine, including those who had close contact with someone who has monkeypox and those who have had multiple sex partners in the last two weeks.

  • Men who have sex with other men and their sexual partners are currently considered at higher risk, per the CDC.
  • Walensky said Thursday that 93% of cases were among men who reported recent sexual contact with other men.
  • The Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Aug. 4.

Go deeper: States are unhappy with how the feds are handling monkeypox

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