The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to stem the monkeypox epidemic by sending hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses to states over the next few months, which will increase access to those most at risk and increase supplies to areas with a large number of cases.
The plan, announced on Tuesday, includes one access in rapid expansion to the hitherto limited Genius vaccine developed by Bavarian Nordic, in order to prevent the spread of monkeypox in areas with the highest disease outbreaks.
Local and state health departments can also order supplies of another vaccine developed by Emerging Biosolutions, which is much more available but has more side effects and cannot be used by everyone, including those with weakened immunity.
The Biden administration will allocate 296,000 doses of the Genius vaccine from a national supply to states and territories in the coming weeks, with 56,000 doses to be assigned immediately while another 1.6 million doses will be available in the coming months, officials said.
In the United States, 306 cases of monkeypox, a viral infection associated with smallpox, have been recorded. Although the virus is endemic in some parts of Africa, the current outbreak has reached countries in which this virus is not usually widespread, which raises concerns that it may become more widespread.
The question for the vaccine is in Increase: Last week a New York clinic started offering the vaccine and the available doses quickly ran out.
Previously, health officials had focused on administering the vaccine to people who had direct contact with confirmed cases of monkeypox. The new strategy will expand tale range to include suspected exposures to infected people, said Jennifer McKeston, an official with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Government officials said the goal of the initial phase of the strategy is to slow the spread of the disease.