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Biden administration to distribute 144,000 additional doses of monkeypox vaccine as cases spike

Biden administration to distribute 144,000 additional doses of monkeypox vaccine as cases spike

FILE – This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. U.S. health officials are expanding the group of people recommended to get vaccinated against the monkeypox virus. They also say they are providing more monkeypox vaccine, working to expand testing, and taking other steps to try to get ahead of the outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, file)

The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it will distribute 144,000 more doses of the Jynneos vaccine across the country to address a recent spike in confirmed cases of monkeypox.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a press release it would begin shipping the vaccines from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) on Monday.

HHS has already distributed more than 41,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, which was made to combat smallpox, a cousin of monkeypox, since the first cases of the virus were detected in the nation in May.

The administration is sending vaccine doses to areas where the transmission is highest and populations are most at risk.

Steve Adams, the director of the SNS, said health officials were “using every tool we have” to accelerate vaccination among at-risk populations.

“These are critical components of our overall effort to combat this virus, and we will continue to coordinate closely with states and jurisdictional partners to make sure they have the vaccines, testing, and treatments needed to respond to the current outbreak,” Adams said in a statement.

Monkeypox has primarily spread among men who have sex with men (MSM) and was tied to two raves in Europe. It’s typically spread through prolonged contact and can cause skin lesions, a rash or a swelling of the lymph nodes, among other symptoms.

There have been no confirmed deaths from monkeypox in the U.S.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned the MSM community is most at risk and should take preventive action, it has also warned against stigmatizing and explained anyone could be at risk of infection.

The CDC has confirmed more than 600 cases in more than 30 states as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, since May.

On Wednesday, the CDC also announced that Labcorp, one of the largest commercial laboratories in the U.S., would begin testing for the virus with tests used to detect orthopoxviruses such as smallpox and monkeypox.

HHS plans to distribute 1.9 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine in 2022 and 2.2 million for the first half of 2023.

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