HHS Hikes Monkeypox Vaccine Distribution

Under the national vaccine strategy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expanding access to the monkeypox vaccine, Jynneos, in areas with the highest transmission and need.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is distributing and purchasing additional doses of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos monkeypox vaccine.

The increase is part of an enhanced nationwide vaccination strategy to mitigate the spread of monkeypox in communities where transmission is highest and with populations most at risk, HHS said in a news release.

Before the most recent outbreak of monkeypox, generally most cases in the United States occurred because of international travel or from importing animals. For this current outbreak, CDC officials are uncertain how people were exposed to monkeypox. Early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. But anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

There have been a total of 605 confirmed cases of monkeypox virus in the United States since the beginning of the 2022 outbreak, according to the CDC.

HHS also ordered an additional 2.5 million doses of Jynneos, which is indicated for preventing both smallpox and monkeypox, the agency said in a news release. Deliveries from the latest order will begin arriving at the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) later this year and will continue through early 2023.

The new order is in addition to the 500,000 doses of government-owned vaccine the company is producing this year for use in the current response to monkeypox in the United States, bringing the total vaccine doses to be delivered in 2022 and 2023 to more than 4 million.

“We are working around-the-clock with public health officials in states and large metro areas to provide them with vaccines and treatments to respond to the current monkeypox outbreak,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This order of additional Jynneos vaccine will help us push out more vaccine quickly, knowing that we have more doses on the way in the coming months – and is only possible because of our longstanding investment in smallpox and monkeypox preparedness.”

As of July 1, 2022, the Strategic National Stockpile has shipped 19,965 doses of Jynneos to 15 jurisdictions across the United States as part of the initial phase of the strategy. An additional 11,565 doses have been ordered as of July 1 by jurisdictions and those are being processed for delivery.

Once requests for vaccine are made by the jurisdictions and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Strategic National Stockpile prepares the vaccine for shipment and can deliver the doses as soon as the next day, HHS said.

Data on Jynneos deliveries are publicly available every Wednesday at Monkeypox (hhs.gov).

Jurisdictions may also request shipments of the ACAM2000 vaccine, which is in much greater supply, but is not recommended for everyone due to significant side effects, HHS said.

“ACAM2000 is FDA approved for smallpox but could also be used to vaccinate at-risk individuals under an appropriate regulatory mechanism outside of its labeled indication,” HHS noted. To date, the Strategic National Stockpile has distributed more than 800 doses of ACAM2000 to combat the current monkeypox outbreak.