Photo Credit: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg
Bavarian Nordic has reached an agreement with the US government to purchase an additional 1.8 million doses of its Monkeypox vaccine. With this new development, US officials expressed confidence that the number of Monkeypox cases in the country would be reduced. The current count of confirmed cases stands at 13,500.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States reported that the number of current patients in the country represented one-third of the 39,000 confirmed cases worldwide. During a White House briefing attended by different heads of offices, the Health and Human Services Department warned that the country should proceed with mass vaccination to prevent Monkeypox from spreading to more states.
Health and Human Services secretary, Xavier Becerra, said, “It’s critical that we do all we can to keep this dangerous virus from spreading.”
360,000 vaccine vials will be available to states the following week as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that they are getting ready to dispatch them. According to the announcement made by Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response, US states could make the vial order equal to 1.8 doses.
More shots per vial in new method
Because of the newly-approved method of administering the vaccines announced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week, each vial would now be equivalent to five shots of the vaccines. Previously, Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccines were designed to reach the deeper layers of the skin. However, intradermal injections reduce the amount of vaccine that must be injected, increasing the number of shots per vial.
FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, said, “In recent weeks, the monkeypox virus has continued to spread at a rate that has made it clear our current vaccine supply will not meet the current demand.”
Bavarian Nordic, on the other hand, expressed concerns about the new method’s safety. According to the company, there is a lack of data and research supporting the safety of the method. Furthermore, intradermal injections may cause patients to have more adverse reactions.
In a tweet, Califf said, “In authorizing an unapproved use of an already approved product, the FDA is ensuring the vaccine meets high standards for safety, immune response and manufacturing quality.”
The battle against Monkeypox continues
The Monkeypox vaccine doses ordered by the US government from Bavarian Nordic would be available to states and other health authorities that are allowed to dispense the vaccine intradermally and should have used up 90% of their existing Monkeypox vaccine supply.
The United States announced that it would procure SIGA Technologies Inc’s TPOXX antiviral treatment and make it available to Monkeypox-positive individuals. State and local health departments will have access to over 50,000 treatment courses beginning next week.
In addition to the existing supply of state and local health departments, Biden announces that a number of vaccine doses have been apportioned for areas with a high accumulation of high-risk factions. Bob Fenton, the White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator, said, “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 high attendance of gay and bisexual men.”
The health agency also released a report revealing that men account for more than 98% of all reported Monkeypox cases in the United States. Men who have sex with other men account for 93% of those figures, which is slightly lower than the 99% in July.
According to the CDC, the pattern of sexual transmission seen in the current case in the United States is not uncommon in countries where monkeypox has propagated. In Africa, for example, men account for 60% of reported cases, while women account for 40%. Since the 1970s, monkeypox has been circulating in Africa.
When race and ethnicity are factored in, the cases in the United States are made up of 35% white, non-Hispanic people, 28% black people, and 33% Hispanic people. Moreover, the median age is 35.