Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press conference on Friday that the demand for the vaccine is now exceeding the nation’s supply. This comes as the monkeypox epidemic in the United States continues to spread.
Nobody knows when the supply shortage will start to ease up. On Friday, the United States Federal Government made an additional 131,000 doses of the drug accessible to the states and other authorities. However, the breadth of the epidemic is yet unknown, in part because diagnostic testing has been sluggish and has only a limited number of available tests.
Nearly 1,500 instances have been detected in the United States, the majority of which have been found in males who have intercourse with other guys. According to Dr. Walensky, this number is certain to increase over the next few weeks. She went on to say that there have been over 11,000 confirmed cases around the world, spread over 65 nations.
On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services placed an order for a further 2.5 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine; however, those doses are not expected to arrive in the United States until the following year.
The United States’ reaction to the epidemic has been criticised by professionals in public health as being sluggish and ineffective. The response has been troubled by some of the same issues that plagued the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the beginning, for example, testing for monkeypox was highly restricted, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had to confirm each diagnosis. This created delays, which may have enabled the virus to spread unnoticed and uncontrolled.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has formed partnerships with five commercial testing businesses in order to increase the capacity of the nation’s testing labs, which has increased to 70,000 samples per week from 6,000 at the beginning of the epidemic.
According to Dr. Gonsalves, officials should get out into the community and offer testing in places that serve men who have sex with other men, as well as in congregate settings such as homeless shelters, in which the virus might spread. In addition, testing should be offered in venues that serve men who have sex with women.
According to Dr. Walensky, since the test for monkeypox requires swabbing one of the lesions that are commonly associated with the illness, it is challenging to extend testing to patients who do not show symptoms of the disease.
Dr. Rimoin said that new diagnostics, particularly those that may identify the virus in humans who do not have symptoms, are required. Additionally, active monitoring in animal populations is required since they have the potential to become reservoirs for the virus.
She went on to say that it was very improbable for the virus to stay in the networks and areas where it is presently spreading, and she emphasised the need of increasing testing in light of the limited availability of vaccines.
Jynneos, the only vaccine expressly licenced by the FDA to prevent monkeypox, is administered in two separate doses, each spaced apart by 28 days. It is produced by Bavarian Nordic, a tiny firm based in Denmark, and the amount that is available for purchase across the world has been very restricted.
Dawn O’Connell, the assistant secretary for preparation and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, said on Friday that the United States had made a total purchase of almost seven million pills but has only received 372,000 of them. According to what she claimed, there have been 156,000 pills dispersed around the country thus far.
The alternative vaccination known as ACAM2000 may be requested by state health authorities. This vaccine was originally created to defend against smallpox, but according to specialists, it should also give protection against monkeypox. According to Ms. O’Connell, the federal government has only offered this vaccine to “a few states in quite small numbers” since it is linked to major adverse effects and the government has only distributed it to those states.
The Danish production plant of Bavarian Nordic was only recently inspected and evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, which is now deliberating whether or not to provide approval for an extra 780,000 doses produced there.
According to Dr. Peter Marks, a leading vaccine regulator at the Food and Drug Administration, “We are aggressively working to complete up our examination of the relevant information in anticipation of the hopefully distribution of these doses by the end of July.”
Officials have said that states and jurisdictions that are seeing a high number of new instances of monkeypox, as well as populations who are seen as being at a high risk, would be given priority when it comes to the distribution of fresh vaccine doses.