Biden officials accelerate monkeypox vaccine effort with additional 1.8 million doses and other steps

That includes increasing supply with an additional 1.8 million doses of the Jynneos Ape Smallpox Vaccine, accelerating the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccine distribution schedule. HHS is also launching a new program aimed at making vaccines available and engaging at-risk communities in large events that draw LGBTQ communities. And the administration is prepositioning doses of an antiviral treatment for people who test positive.

The details, compiled in a White House fact sheet, were first shared with CNN.

Ads come as the most recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. says more than 13,500 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, with more than 39,000 cases reported worldwide as of Wednesday night. There have been zero deaths in the United States. Most of the monkeypox cases in the current outbreak have been linked to sexual activity. According to CDC guidance, “monkeypox can be spread to anyone” through close contact, which is often skin-to-skin, as well as intimate contact that includes sex, hugging, massage, and kissing. Men who have sex with men are at high risk of contracting the virus.

At a briefing Thursday morning alongside HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator Bob Fenton announced : “We have accelerated phase four of our national vaccination strategy. Starting Monday, an additional 1.8 million doses of the vaccine will be administered.” be available to jurisdictions to place orders. That accelerated allocation phase will give states and jurisdictions more visibility into how much vaccine they can expect as they make plans to distribute it.

The Biden administration is also providing more resources to local jurisdictions to help transition to the new type of injection to expand vaccine supply. The administration encourages states to provide the Jynneos vaccine intradermally, or between the layers of the skin, rather than subcutaneously or under the skin, which would allow providers to extend supply in a standard-dose vial. . Los Angeles County in California and Fulton County in Georgia have switched completely to the intradermal vaccine, a White House official told CNN, as the administration is “providing technical assistance, support and resources to jurisdictions in the process of adoption and expansion of intradermal administration”. .”

Officials also unveiled a new program aimed at reaching populations most at risk: gay and bisexual men – which have made up the majority of confirmed cases so far.

“HHS is launching a pilot program that will provide up to 50,000 doses from the national stockpile to be made available for pride and other events that will be heavily attended by gay and bisexual men,” Fenton said Thursday, calling it “important” and “innovative” way to bolster local efforts to mitigate spread.

One of the upcoming events is the Charlotte Pride Parade and Festival this weekend in North Carolina. Officials acknowledge that this effort will not prevent the spread of these events, as the vaccine does not provide full immunity until two weeks after the second dose. But it is an effort to raise awareness and meet people where they are.

The CDC is also “offering assistance and support to jurisdictions as they prepare for these major events, including helping develop vaccine and testing strategies that will be sustained in and around these events, developing tools to collect information from participants of the event and provide messages and communications. resources on vaccines, testing, and strategies to reduce the risk of contracting the virus,” the White House fact sheet says.

And officials described new efforts to make the monkeypox treatmentTpoxx, easier to access.

“Next week, HHS will preposition 50,000 Tpoxx courses across the country. That’s nearly five times as many treatment courses as there are confirmed cases in the US. These courses will be available to jurisdictions where the outbreak is most severe to that people can get treatment faster from their health care providers,” Fenton said.

Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, said the new effort reflects that “this is not a static response. We continue to assess where we are, assess what we need and make improvements in real time.” The Biden administration has faced criticism for its slow response to the evolving outbreak.

The allocation will be based on a formula based on 75% of the number of cases in a jurisdiction and 25% on the number of people at risk.

“It is important that we all take monkeypox seriously, and it is critical that we do everything we can to prevent this dangerous virus from spreading here,” Becerra told reporters Thursday, adding that there was “more work to be done.” .

U.S. federal health officials also said the alternative method of administering smaller doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine via intradermal injection would provide some protection as the nation continues to battle the virus.

However, on the subject of exact efficacy numbers, Walensky said, “We don’t yet know how well this vaccine will work in this outbreak.”

CNN has reported that Jynneos has been approved for emergency purposes based on studies of immune responses, not clinical results, because there have been no smallpox or monkeypox outbreaks large enough to test it.

The US Food and Drug Administration last week issued an emergency use authorization allowing the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to be injected into the skin, a change that may stretch the vaccine supply, as it would require a fifth of the dose used for a subcutaneous injection. The FDA said it based the authorization on a 2015 clinical study of intradermal versus subcutaneous injection, and found they produced similar results.

“So when the strategy for intradermal dosing, which we anticipate will work as well as subcutaneous dosing, we again meet closely with health departments,” Walensky said. “This has been seamless, but we have been in close contact with our state and local health departments giving them all the data and all the information we have when we have it.”

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Evaluation Biology and Research, said the switch to intradermal injection was made “very carefully” and “with much thought.”

“We’re working very actively to make sure the community has the information we reviewed and can see the thought process we used to come to the conclusion that giving this intradermally provided the same kind of protection as giving it subcutaneously.” Mark said.

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, assistant White House monkeypox response coordinator, said: “It’s safe, it’s equally effective, and it also allows us to scale up the vaccine so we can maximize protection in the community.”

This story has been updated with an additional reaction.

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.

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