Health officials announced on Friday that the White House has ordered 500,000 more doses of a vaccine believed to be effective against monkeypox.
Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced during a press briefing that the U.S. had ordered half a million liquid, frozen doses of the Jynneos smallpox vaccine.
While there are currently no vaccines or antivirals specifically designed to treat monkeypox, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Jynneos for use in adults to prevent monkeypox infections. The drug is created by Bavarian Nordic, a biotech company headquartered in Denmark.
The order announced on Friday is expected to be delivered later this year.
O’Connell also stated that the U.S.’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) currently has 72,000 doses of Jynneos in its immediate inventory and an additional 300,000 are expected to arrive in the next few weeks.
Apart from Jynneos, the SNS also has over 100 million doses of the ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine, though health officials noted that there has been a preference for Jynneos. ACAM2000 is an older vaccine and comes with some side effects that may make providers concerned, including muscle pain, rashes and nausea.
During Friday’s briefing, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said 45 monkeypox cases have been identified across 15 states in the U.S., more than twice the number of cases identified last week and nearly the same number that were detected during the 2003 outbreak, which is the most severe in recent U.S. history.
The health officials on Friday also stated that most patients who have tested positive for monkeypox have reported close, sustained physical contact with another person who was infected, which falls in line with how monkeypox is believed to be transmitted.
However, some cases have reported not knowing how they might have contracted the disease, indicating the possibility of community transmission. The majority of cases are still associated with likely exposure during international travel.