Cases of monkeypox are on the rise, and the US lacks vaccines to meet demand

The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Strategic National Stockpile, said it has distributed about 156,000 doses of Jynneos, the FDA-approved two-dose monkeypox vaccine, to date, and that another 131,000 doses are available.

“While the Jynneos vaccine supply has been limited recently, we are starting to see an increase in supply, and as we do so, we are going to continue to receive these doses as quickly, efficiently and fairly as possible,” Don O’Connell, HHS. This was announced at a briefing by the Assistant Secretary of State for Preparedness and Response.

HHS said it placed an order for 2.5 million more doses of Jynneos on Friday, which will begin shipping in 2023, in addition to an earlier order for the same quantity placed on July 1, which will start shipping “within the next year.”

HHS previously said it had over 100 million doses of ACAM2000, an older smallpox vaccine that can be used to treat monkeypox, but has significantly more side effects and is not in high demand in the states.

The federal government’s response to the unprecedented monkeypox outbreak has been criticized by doctors and health advocates, who have said for weeks that logistical problems make it difficult to test patients for the rare virus and criticized the sluggish rollout of vaccines.

In response, the CDC expanded monkeypox testing from its own lab network to now four commercial labs, increasing testing to about 70,000 tests per week from 6,000 per week.

“We have not yet received even a close request for tests, as our capabilities now allow,” Walensky said.

The agency has also changed its guidance, from an initial recommendation for vaccination for people in close contact to a confirmed or suspected case for all people, even those with “suspected” exposure.

Walensky said on Friday that the government will begin to focus more on providing vaccines to areas with a growing number of cases, “while still providing vaccines to all jurisdictions and individuals at increased risk of the disease.”

The CDC has received demographic data from 700 confirmed cases from states that are not required to report this information. All cases were among adults, and the vast majority were among men who have sex with men, according to the agency.