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Biden Officials Accelerate Monkeypox Vaccine Effort with 1.8 Million More Doses and Other Milestones

This includes increasing supply with an additional 1.8 million doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, accelerating the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services vaccine distribution schedule. HHS will also launch a new program to make vaccines available and engage with at-risk communities at major events that appeal to LGBTQ communities. And the administration pre-positions doses of an antiviral treatment for people who test positive.
The announcements come as latest 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 evening. There have been no deaths in the United States. Most cases of monkeypox in the current outbreak have been linked to sexual activity. According to CDC guidelines, “monkey pox can be spread to anyone” through close contact, which is often skin-to-skin, as well as intimate contact which includes sex, cuddling, massaging and kissing. . Men who have sex with men are at high risk of contracting the virus.

During a Thursday morning briefing, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator Bob Fenton, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will announce that HHS “has accelerated the phase 4 of its National Immunization Strategy and will make an additional 1.8 million doses available for order starting Monday,” the White House said in a backgrounder first obtained by CNN. This accelerated allocation phase will give states and jurisdictions more visibility into how much vaccine to expect when they plan 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 is encouraging states to supply the Jynneos vaccine intradermally — or between layers of the skin — rather than subcutaneously or under the skin, which would allow providers to expand supply in a vial to standard dose. Los Angeles County in California and Fulton County in Georgia have both transitioned completely to the intradermal vaccine, a White House official told CNN, as the administration “provides technical assistance, support and resources to jurisdictions in the process of adopting and expanding intradermal delivery”. .”

Officials will also unveil a new program aimed at reaching the most at-risk populations — gay and bisexual men — who make up the majority of confirmed cases so far.

“HHS is launching a pilot program to provide supplemental vaccine allocations to state and local health departments in jurisdictions that hold large events that attract gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in weeks and months to come,” the fact sheet said, adding that 50,000 doses from the national strategic stock will be set aside for this purpose.

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

The CDC also “offers assistance and support to jurisdictions in preparing for these major events, including helping to develop vaccine and testing strategies to be put in place during and around these events, developing data collection tools information to event attendees and providing messaging and communications resources about vaccines, testing and strategies to reduce the risk of contracting the virus,” the fact sheet reads.

And officials will describe new efforts to make the treatment for monkeypox, Tpoxx, easier to access.

The HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response “will make 50,000 TPOXX courses available to jurisdictions for patients next week,” the fact sheet states. This distribution will be based on a formula based on 75% of the number of cases in a jurisdiction and 25% of the number of people at risk.

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.