The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced an enhanced nationwide vaccination strategy to mitigate the spread of monkeypox. The strategy will vaccinate and protect those at-risk of monkeypox, prioritize vaccines for areas with the highest numbers of cases, and provide guidance to state, territorial, tribal, and local health officials to aid their planning and response efforts.
Under the strategy, HHS is rapidly expanding access to hundreds of thousands of doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine for prophylactic use against monkeypox in areas with the highest transmission and need, using a tiered allocation system. Jurisdictions can also request shipments of the ACAM2000 vaccine, which is in much greater supply, but due to significant side effects is not recommended for everyone.
“Within days of the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the United States, we quickly began deploying vaccines and treatment to help protect the American public and limit the spread of the virus,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “While monkeypox poses minimal risk to most Americans, we are doing everything we can to offer vaccines to those at high-risk of contracting the virus. This new strategy allows us to maximize the supply of currently available vaccines and reach those who are most vulnerable to the current outbreak.”
HHS will provide 296,000 doses of JYNNEOS vaccine. Of that amount, 56,000 doses will be made available immediately, and an additional 240,000 doses will be made available in the coming weeks. HHS expects more than 750,000 additional JYNNEOS doses to be made available over the summer, and an additional 500,000 doses will undergo completion, inspection and release throughout the fall, totaling 1.6 million doses available this year.
JYNNEOS vaccine will be allocated using a four-tier distribution strategy that prioritizes jurisdictions with the highest case rates of monkeypox. Within each tier, doses of JYNNEOS will be allocated based on the number of individuals at risk for monkeypox who also have a contraindication to ACAM2000 (i.e., those with HIV).
“We are focused on making sure the public and health care providers are aware of the risks posed by monkeypox and that there are steps they can take—through seeking testing, vaccines and treatments — to stay healthy and stop the spread,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., M.P.H.
“We have vaccines and treatments to respond to the current monkeypox outbreak thanks to years of sustained investment and planning,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell.