As the monkeypox outbreak grows in the United States, the demand for the vaccine outstrips the supply in the country. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a briefing on Friday.
“We don’t yet have all the vaccine we would like at the moment,” she said.
When supply crisis relieve unknown. On Friday, the federal government gave states and other jurisdictions another 131,000 doses. But the extent of the outbreak remains unclear, in part because diagnostic testing is slow and limited.
About 1,500 cases have been identified in the United States, mostly among men who have sex with men, and that number is likely to rise in the coming weeks, the doctor says. Valensky said. She added that more than 11,000 cases have been identified worldwide in 65 countries.
“Our window of opportunity to control it is rapidly closing,” said Ann Rimouin, an epidemiologist and monkeypox expert at the University of California, Los Angeles. “There are probably many more cases than we know.”
The Department of Health and Human Services ordered an additional 2.5 million doses of the vaccine, known as Jynneos, on Friday, but those doses are not due until next year.
The previously ordered 2.5 million doses should begin arriving later this year, officials said.
“It’s like saying we’ll have a water tank next week when there’s a fire today,” said Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.
Initially, for example, testing for monkeypox was extremely limited, and each diagnosis had to be confirmed by the CDC, creating delays that could allow the virus to spread unnoticed and out of control.
“Now we are in a situation where it will be extremely difficult, given the limited supply of the vaccine and still some problems with testing, to bring the situation under control,” the doctor said. Gonsalves said.
The CDC has teamed up with five commercial testing companies to expand testing capacity in the country, which currently stands at 70,000 samples per week, up from 6,000 at the start of the outbreak.
What you need to know about the monkeypox virus
What is monkeypox? monkeypox virus endemic in parts of central and western Africa. It is similar to smallpox, but less severe. It was discovered in 1958 after outbreaks in monkeys kept for research, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have the testing capabilities we need and we’ve made it easy to access them,” the doctor said. Valensky said.
But health professionals need to conduct more active surveillance of the disease, experts say.
Officials should go out into the community and offer testing in places that serve men who have sex with men, as well as in crowded places, such as homeless shelters, where the virus can spread. Gonsalves said.
The monkeypox test involves taking a swab from one of the lesions that usually accompanies the disease, making it difficult to extend testing to people who do not have symptoms. Valensky said. “In order to pass the test, you need to have a defeat,” she added.
More tests are needed, including ones that can detect the virus in asymptomatic people, the doctor said. According to Rimouan, animal populations are being actively monitored for potential reservoirs of the virus.
She added that the virus is unlikely to remain in the networks and communities where it is currently spreading, and expanding testing is particularly important given limited vaccine supplies.
“The faster you can identify cases, the better you can isolate them and prevent further transmission,” the doctor says. Rimwan said.
Jynneos, the only FDA-approved vaccine specifically for monkeypox, is given in two doses 28 days apart. It is made by Bavarian Nordic, a small company in Denmark, and its global supply is extremely limited.
The United States purchased a total of nearly seven million doses but received only 372,000 of them, Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, said Friday. So far, 156,000 doses have been distributed nationally, she said.
State health officials may request an alternative vaccine, known as ACAM2000, which was developed to prevent smallpox and should also protect against monkeypox, experts say. But the vaccine is associated with serious side effects, and the federal government has only made it available to “a few states in relatively modest amounts.” O’Connell said.
The FDA recently completed an inspection of Bavarian Nordic’s manufacturing facility in Denmark and is deciding whether to approve production of an additional 780,000 doses.
“We are working hard to complete the evaluation of the required information, looking forward to an encouraging release of these doses before the end of July,” the doctor said. Peter Marks, Chief Vaccine Regulator at the FDA
He added that the United States is not considering switching to a single dose strategy to increase existing supplies. “We are confident that we will have a stockpile of vaccine to be able to administer the second dose at or near the appropriate 28-day interval,” he said.
States and jurisdictions with high or rising cases of monkeypox, as well as populations deemed at high risk, will receive priority in distributing new doses of the vaccine, officials said.
“We are working around the clock to increase supply and make sure we reach those who are most at risk,” she said. O’Connell said.