As New York City Rolls Out Monkeypox Vaccines, CDC Works to Expand Access

New York City announced Thursday that it had become the first jurisdiction in the country to implement monkey pox vaccines to a broader group of people at risk of contracting the disease. The city is offering vaccinations to any “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men” who are 18 or older and have had “multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the past 14 days.”

That reflects the decisions of health authorities abroad, including in the United Kingdom and Canada, which have also expanded monkeypox vaccines. While most of the cases identified in the recent global outbreak have been in men who have sex with men, officials warn that anyone can contract the disease through close physical contact with an infected person. At least five women are among the US cases so far.

Hundreds of people lined up to get vaccinated on Thursday, CBS New York reportedand there was such High demand that the city had to close its vaccination clinic to walk-ins. (Appointments can be made at nyc.gov/health/monkeypox).

Only 1,000 doses of the Jynneos Vaccine they were in the city supply, though local officials say they are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to request more from the national stockpile.

The CDC is now working with various state and local health departments across the country to expand eligibility for monkeypox vaccines, federal health officials said Thursday, amid a growing number of cases in the US. USA that cannot be traced back to a source.

The move marks the latest escalation in the Biden administration’s response to the growing global outbreak of cases, which now has more than 3,000 confirmed patients worldwide. The CDC’s latest national tally counts 173 monkeypox cases nationwide in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

“We are aware that there are jurisdictions with higher caseloads that are reporting high percentages of unidentifiable contacts. And there are several that are considering, planning and even implementing expanded vaccination programs right now,” said Brett Petersen of the CDC. the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Thursday.

Petersen said the CDC has been working with the panel and other partners to develop a new national strategy for monkeypox vaccine doses on U.S. reserves. Current federal recommendations for Jynneos had been largely limited. healthcare workers who had high-risk exposures with patients.

“We’re working to address some supply constraints and make sure that this medical countermeasure, in particular, is provided and used optimally, but also equitably,” Petersen said.

There are 36,000 cycles of the Jynneos vaccine in government warehouses that are “available for immediate release” and can be shipped in less than two days. More than 4,000 cycles of the two-dose vaccine have been distributed in 28 states and territories.

Its maker, Bavarian Nordic, is expected to deliver an additional 150,000 courses of Jynneos in the coming weeks, on top of the 500,000 more doses the Biden administration has asked the company to fill into vials from its own stockpiles.

For decades, the federal government has poured millions into Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine development in preparation for any potential outbreak. The company could fill another 7.9 million doses of Jynneos in vials for the US if needed, officials said.

The CDC also sent tests for orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses that includes both monkeypox and smallpox, to several commercial laboratories.

Those labs could start testing suspected monkeypox cases “in early July” to supplant the network of public health labs that have been detecting cases so far.

The CDC, which can perform tests that can tell the difference between monkeypox and smallpox, still requests positive samples from commercial laboratories to be sent to them for “characterization testing.”

“As we continue to say, health care providers can and should act on positive orthopoxvirus results before CDC monkeypox-specific testing is done,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said in a statement. .

So far, no deaths have been reported in the US from the disease, which causes painful, itchy rashes and sores that can last for weeks until they finish crusting over. Virtually all cases so far are believed to have been infected through intimate skin-to-skin contact or through shared tissues, such as towels and bedding.

The CDC also plans to study whether monkeypox has been spread through semen, since most cases have been linked to sexual contact.

Patients with known infections range in age from 20 to 76, and are mostly men, but include a handful of women. So far, no health care personnel have tested positive for the disease after treating a patient.

“We’re looking at various clusters across the country, and it sounds similar to what the international community, the scientific communities have established, in that most of these cases are in men who have sex with men,” Agam Rao of the CDC. he told the panel.

A growing number of recent infections are believed to have been acquired through “local transmission” or cannot be linked to another known case, Rao added.

The accelerated US response to monkeypox comes as federal officials have been participating in the World Health Organization’s emergency meeting to decide whether to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC.

“If a PHEIC is declared, and the United States follows suit and declares a public health emergency as well, that could change some of the regulatory mechanisms in terms of these medical countermeasures, opening up the possibility that they could be used under emergency use. authorization or under emergency use instructions,” Petersen said.

For example, the CDC is seeking permission from the Food and Drug Administration to expand the use of the vaccine in more children who may be exposed. At least one dose of the vaccine had to be given to a child who was exposed to monkeypox so far, Petersen said.

Molly Howell, a representative from the Association of Immunization Managers, also told the committee that many health departments have dedicated themselves to slowing down the COVID-19 pandemic. Local vaccination programs would need time to prepare for a large-scale monkeypox immunization effort, Howell said, and may need more resources.

“Much of our COVID vaccine funding is very specific to the COVID vaccine and cannot be used for any launch of a monkeypox vaccine initiative,” Howell said.

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