The U.S. will soon have enough monkeypox vaccine available “for everyone in the at-risk community to receive two doses of vaccine,” said White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator Bob Fenton during a press briefing on Friday.
At the time of the briefing, the Biden administration had already allocated 1.1 million vials of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, developed by biotechnology company Bavarian Nordic, a member of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
“In fact, we have made more JYNNEOS vaccine available than any other country in the world,” said Fenton. “And because of the [Food and Drug Administration’s] authorization of safe and effective intradermal vaccination, we can accelerate the number of shots in arms with the urgency this outbreak warrants.”
Intradermal administration increases available vaccine doses
As Bio.News reported, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for intradermal administration (between the layers of skin) of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine. This method of administration allows five-fold the number of doses available, with the same immunological response, according to the announcement.
In Washington, D.C., for example, health officials vaccinate 900 people per day using the intradermal method, “getting between 4.5 and 5 doses on average per vial,” noted Fenton.
Today, the White House will launch the “fourth phase” of the national monkeypox vaccine strategy, making an additional 360,000 vials available to states and jurisdictions, said Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Using the intradermal administration method, jurisdictions can administer up to 1.8 million doses of vaccines from these vials. Taken together, by the end of phase four, we will have provided enough vials to states and jurisdictions to provide more than 3 million doses of vaccines, meaning we have supplied nearly enough vaccine to reach the entire at-risk population,” she said.
The Biden administration anticipates the supply of an additional 150,000 vials of vaccine, accounting for 750,000 doses, by late September.
The health officials noted the Biden administration would distribute 50,000 additional courses of monkeypox therapeutic TPOXX, as well – “three times as many treatment courses as there are monkeypox cases,” said O’Connell.
The state of the monkeypox emergency
As of Thursday, August 25, there were 17,000 cases of monkeypox identified in all 50 U.S. States, D.C., and Puerto Rico said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
There have been over 46,000 cases detected in 98 countries.
Now, with “Black and Hispanic men have increasingly and disproportionately represented new cases,” per Dr. Walensky, the Biden administration will put additional focus on ensuring equitable distribution of monkeypox vaccines and therapeutics.
In addition, with students returning to college campuses, the CDC will focus on education and outreach to at-risk populations in this group, added Dr. Walensky.
The World Health Organization (WHO) last month declared the current monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The United States followed shortly after by declaring a state of emergency.