The U.S. government is sending thousands of vaccines to states in the following months in an effort to hamper the spread of monkeypox. This would improve the accessibility to the people who are more at risk of the disease as the government aims to increase the supply to localities with a higher number of cases.
According to the plan that was announced on Tuesday, there will be a quick expansion in access to the doses of the monkeypox vaccine from the Danish company Bavarian Nordic called Jynneos. Previously this vaccine has been limited, but to cater to the areas with high need, ample vaccines will be made available.
The vaccine is indicated for the prevention of monkeypox in people of age 18 and older.
Emergent BioSolutions’ ACAM2000 vaccine will also be available on order by state or local health departments. This is in greater supply but only available on order due to the greater number of side effects. What also adds to its available-on-order status is that it cannot be used by people with compromised immune systems, making it not suitable for the mass public.
In the coming weeks, doses will be allocated by the Biden administration. From the national stockpile, 296,000 doses of Jyenneos will be allocated to the states and territories, of which 56,000 being immediate. According to officials, 1.6M doses will follow in the coming months.
306 cases of monkeypox exist in the United States. Monkeypox is an infection linked to smallpox, with the addition of painful skin abrasions. The virus is existent and widespread in parts of Africa. This is why the preventive measure is being taken elsewhere, to avoid widespread in other countries.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters, “As additional supply becomes available, we will further expand our efforts, making vaccines available to a wider population.”
The existing strategy was focused on offering the vaccine to people who had had direct contact with anyone who was a confirmed case of monkeypox. According to Jennifer McQuistion, deputy director of CDC’s high consequence pathogens and pathology division, the new strategy will change that to include supposed exposures as well and not just confirmed cases. This means that the focus has shifted from the number of people actually exposed to those who are possibly or supposedly exposed, without confirmation.
The supposed exposures would include people who had close contact with anyone diagnosed with the disease, those who know that their sexual partner was diagnosed with the disease, and also men who have indulged in sexual activity with other men who have had multiple sexual partners recently in a locality where the disease is known to be spreading.
General idea is to take extreme precautions to avoid the widespread of the disease, which is why the slightest possibility of monkeypox exposure is being considered as an actual exposure and being treated as such.
According to the administration officials, the goal of this initial phase of the new strategy is to reduce the spread of monkeypox.