CDC: Monkeypox vaccine provides protection, 2nd dose recommended

Experts are calling for a second dose for full protection, but people who received a single dose of the monkeypox vaccine seemed to get significantly less sick.

WASHINGTON — Vulnerable people who received a single dose of the monkeypox vaccine as part of the U.S. effort against the virus appeared to be significantly less likely to get sick, public health officials said Wednesday, although they called for a second dose for full protection.

It was the first look public health officials have taken at how the Jynneos vaccine affects monkeypox, a virus spread primarily among men who have sex with infected men.

“These new data give us cautious optimism that the vaccine is working as intended,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Wednesday.

About 800,000 first and second doses of the vaccine have been given across the country to people considered at high risk of contracting the virus, said Bob Fenton, the White House national monkeypox response coordinator.

There are no scientifically conclusive data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Jynneos vaccine against monkeypox.

However, the new real-world numbers from the CDC show that unvaccinated men between the ages of 18 and 49 who were considered eligible for the vaccine were 14 times more likely to contract monkeypox than those who had been infected for at least two weeks had previously received a dose. The data came from 32 states for cases between July 31 and September 3.

Still, Walensky said laboratory studies show that the highest level of immunity to the virus comes after people get a second dose of the vaccine, calling it “really important.”

The US is the world leader in monkeypox cases. So far, more than 25,000 infections with the virus have been reported, which can cause skin rashes, fever, body aches and chills.

The country suffered from early problems in its response as US officials struggled to distribute the vaccine after the first case was spotted in May. As some cities and counties have tried stretch out the limited offer of these Summer they stopped offering the recommended second dose of the shot.

Now public health officials are trying to catch up, reminding people to get their second dose. By September 17, approximately 150,000 second doses had been administered. according to the CDC.

“We’re really asking providers to get in touch to get people their second dose,” Walensky said.

Public health officials also announced Wednesday changes to who is eligible for the vaccine and how to get it.

The new CDC guidance aims to reach more people who may be at risk for monkeypox. The guidelines qualify gay, bisexual men and transgender people who have had more than one sexual partner in the past six months for the vaccine. It also allows the vaccine to be administered on the shoulder or upper back so that the bullet marks can be covered with clothing.

The number of new cases of monkeypox has been falling in recent weeks, but there are signs of getting worse racial differences, with blacks making up about 47 percent of the new cases reported in the week of September 11. CDC: Monkeypox vaccine provides protection, 2nd dose recommended

Laura Coffey

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