August 18, 2022 – Recognizing the severity of the monkeypox outbreak in the United States, the White House today announced that an additional 1.8 million doses of the vaccine will be available on order from local and state jurisdictions that are short of funding. supply from next week.
At the same time, US authorities will ship 50,000 more treatments of tecovirimat (TPOXX), the only currently FDA-approved treatment for monkeypox, nationwide.
“We are working to help state and local partners turn these doses into vaccines because more gunshots will get us under control,” said Robert Fenton, newly appointed monkeypox coordinator. at the White House, during a press conference today.
More than 13,500 cases of monkeypox had been identified in 49 states as of August 17, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD.
The Biden administration also increased testing capacity from 6,000 tests per week to 80,000 tests per week, the White House said.
Pride and protection?
Additionally, in an effort to target those most at risk, the CDC plans to partner with major LGBTQ+ events in the coming weeks and months to offer onsite testing and vaccinations. To date, 93% of reported cases of monkeypox involve men who have sex with men, Walensky said.
“These events are important opportunities for people to connect with their community and have fun,” she said. “They’re also a chance to provide public health messaging and resources to people who might otherwise be hard to reach.”
Going to where the people are, Fenton said, will boost local efforts and help slow the spread of the virus.
The White House has begun working with health departments in North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana to prepare for upcoming LGBTQ+ gatherings. For example, the administration worked with North Carolina to develop a plan to offer vaccines during the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade this weekend.
Officials also plan to work with event promoters Southern Decadence in New Orleans and Atlanta Black Pride Weekend, both scheduled for Labor Day weekend. These efforts are part of a pilot program by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is setting aside 50,000 additional vaccine doses from the strategic national stockpile that local officials can request along with the vaccines they already have.
Follow-up will be required. “We recognize that there will be people going to large-scale events – and they will need to get the first dose of their vaccine, and then they will necessarily get the second dose in their local jurisdiction,” Walensky said. said.
monkeypox a moving target
The situation with monkeypox is “fluid”, Walensky and other government officials acknowledged during the briefing. For example, an early recommendation to provide one dose of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine (from drugmaker Bavarian Nordic) and delay the second is no longer advised.
“The delayed single-dose strategy was … very concerning due to the lack of data and some emerging data suggesting that it may be a strategy that is not as effective as we would like. “said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
Instead, two doses are recommended 4 weeks apart. Also, maximum vaccine protection is expected 2 weeks after that second dose, Walensky said.
The 50,000 TPOXX courses to be sent across the country will be made available where the outbreak is most severe, Fenton said. “That’s five times more treatments than confirmed cases in the United States”
The government will determine the number of doses of TPOXX a particular location receives based on a formula that takes into account the number of local cases and the number of high-risk people at that location, including people living with HIV or other immunocompromised diseases, said Dawn O’Connell. , Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Preparedness and Response.
While announcing big numbers for more TPOXX vaccines and treatment doses across the country, officials also stressed the importance of working with local community leaders, organizations and health departments.
Think nationally, act locally
“We know we need to do more to mitigate the spread of this virus and protect those at risk,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “Our work with state and local partners could not be more critical than at this particular time.”
In addition to reaching those most at risk, the government is emphasizing the equitable provision of education, testing, prevention and treatment. The median age of people with monkeypox is 35. About 35% of cases occur in whites, 33% in Hispanics and nearly 28% in blacks, CDC data reveals.
“Many of the events that we’re focusing on … are really events that focus on populations that are overrepresented in this epidemic, including the trends we’re seeing among black people and Latinos,” said Demetre Daskalakis, MD, coordinator. White House deputy. response to monkeypox and director of the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention.
“Most Americans are still learning about monkeypox, what it is and what it isn’t. The CDC website can answer most of these questions,” Becerra said.
The sole maker of the Jynneos vaccine in Copenhagen, Denmark, said its production was unlikely to meet demand. But US officials are working with Bavarian Nordic to speed up manufacturing by partnering with a vaccine maker in the United States. Details are still being worked out.
Another possibility is that Bavarian Nordic is partnering with a major US pharmaceutical company to increase capacity, O’Connell said.
“On July 15, when we announced an order from Bavarian Nordic for an additional 2.5 million vials of Jynneos vaccine, we announced that those doses would be filled at a U.S.-based contract manufacturer,” it said. she declared.