Starting Monday, an additional 360,000 vials of monkeypox vaccine will be available, potentially enough for 1.8 million armshots using the administration’s new approach and a number that will nearly triple the US supply. in vaccines available so far, the White House Monkeypox Response Team announced. Thursday.
The supply expansion stems from a strategy the administration rolled out last week that changed the recommendation on how to inject vaccines from a deeper injection to a shallower intradermal injection that doesn’t only uses one-fifth of the vaccine but still carries the same efficacy, officials say, allowing the administration to increase doses five-fold.
But it is unclear to what extent this new approach has been adopted on the ground.
Data still lags on the approach to administering monkeypox, making it difficult to know how many more people have been able to get vaccinated with this new strategy and where it is being implemented. Without that data, it’s impossible to know if the 360,000 vials the administration is shipping will actually be stretched by field clinics to result in 1.8 million gun shots, as the administration hopes.
Some clinics are not yet trained in this method of injection, and hesitation over intradermal administration from vaccine maker Bavarian Nordic has also fueled confusion.
Still, administration public health officials insisted Thursday that localities were jumping on board, citing Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Fulton County, Georgia, as examples. The data will arrive this week, they said.
And in an effort to encourage more places to embark on the new approach, the White House has stipulated that the new vaccine allocation will only be available to states and jurisdictions that use the intradermal strategy and have already used 90% of their current vaccine supplies.
“We’re hearing that jurisdictions are very excited to start this,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy White House monkeypox coordinator. “I think it’s exciting from an access perspective.”
The White House also celebrated the milestone of one million doses nationwide on Thursday, an effort made possible because it began shipping doses more quickly under the new strategy.
“Overall, to date, HHS has delivered nearly one million doses of vaccine to states and cities,” Bob Fenton, White House monkeypox coordinator, said during a briefing. briefing with journalists on Thursday.
“In fact, we have the largest Jynneos vaccine program of any country in the world. And we’re not done,” he said.
The United States also has the most cases in the world, with more than 13,500 cases in 49 states.
On treatment, the government has also announced efforts to improve access on this front, announcing it is sending 50,000 courses of TPOXX to at-risk areas to make it easier and faster for patients to access treatment. antiviral, which has been difficult to obtain so far. .
“Our feet remain on the gas to do everything we can to end this outbreak,” Fenton said.
As monkeypox continues to massively affect men who have reported recent sexual contact with other men, the government is also launching a new program to make vaccines available to the LGBT community.
“We are announcing that states and localities will be able to request and receive additional vaccines to support vaccination efforts at major LGBT events in the weeks and months ahead,” Fenton said. The administration plans to launch the pop-up clinics at events such as Black Pride in Atlanta and Southern Decadence in New Orleans, among others, to target black and brown communities who have so far disproportionately stripped the weight cases of monkeypox.
“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 have a high turnout of gay and bisexual men,” Fenton said.
The administration highlighted the pilot program as an opportunity to bring the vaccine to populations hardest hit by the virus.
“Creating more opportunities for access to vaccines really allows us to do interventions like this and pilots to try to bring vaccines closer to where people are, rather than having people come forever trying to find the vaccine,” Daskalakis said.
“It’s not just about vaccines, it’s also about clear communication about how the vaccine works,” he added.