Officials for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday said the agency is releasing doses of a smallpox vaccine in response to the few recent cases of monkeypox that have been detected in the U.S.
Jennifer McQuiston, the deputy director for the CDC’s Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, said during a press briefing that more than a thousand doses of the Jynneos smallpox vaccine are currently available in the U.S., with more doses expected to become available as production ramps up.
Jynneos, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2019, is manufactured by Bavarian Nordic, a biotechnology company headquartered in Denmark.
The vaccines will be designated for people who are most likely to benefit from them, McQuiston said, including those who are known to have had close contact with monkeypox patients, health care workers and people who would be at high risk of developing a severe case of the disease.
The Jynneos vaccine is administered in two 0.5 mL doses four weeks apart.
McQuiston confirmed that there has been a request for the release of the Jynneos vaccine from the U.S. national stockpile for high-risk contacts and said it was “actively happening right now.”
Apart from Jenneos, more than a million doses of the older-generation ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine are available, though CDC officials noted on Monday that this shot has some potential side effects that warrant discussion before widespread use.
On Monday, the CDC also reported that there is currently one confirmed case of monkeypox — reported in Massachusetts — and four probable cases, all found in men. Among the presumptive cases of monkeypox, one was detected in New York, one in Florida and two in Utah.
The CDC officials stressed that the risk to the general public remains low, with McQuiston noting that there have been only a handful of likely cases detected in the U.S. so far.
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