As the number of confirmed cases of monkeypox in Europe and North America continues to increase, U.S. public health officials consider vaccine efficacy and distribution.
The Strategic National Stockpile currently includes roughly 1,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine Jynneos. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on a telebriefing call on Monday, May 23, that production of Jynneos doses will ramp up quickly in the coming weeks.
Additionally, the United States has more than 100 million doses of ACAM2000, an older smallpox vaccine, which has reportedly proven effective against the monkeypox virus since the two viruses are closely related to one another.
The CDC also announced that it would begin deploying some doses of Jynneos to “limit the spread” of the virus.
“Right now we are hoping to maximize vaccine distribution to those that we know would benefit from it,” said Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC’s High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology Division.
She continued, “So those are people who’ve had contact with known monkeypox patients, health care workers, very close personal contacts, and those in particular who might be at high risk for severe disease.”
According to the CDC’s website, the vaccine can be effective even if administered up to four days after exposure to the monkeypox virus.
CDC officials explained that ACAM2000 would not be deployed at present because of the possibility of significant side effects.
As noted on the website, ACAM2000, which uses live smallpox virus, often causes a lesion at the injection site. That lesion can infect other parts of the body and even other people.
Jynneos also uses a live virus, but it is “non-replicating” and does not result in a lesion, meaning it cannot spread to other body parts or people.
Regarding the potential usage of ACAM2000 to combat the current outbreak, McQuiston said there would have to be “serious discussion” if it were to be considered.
As of Wednesday, June 1, there are 15 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States spread across nine states.
Monkeypox is typically not fatal, but it is considered to be highly contagious through physical contact.
The current outbreak in Europe and North America appears to be spreading among men who have sexual contact with other men.