Suspicion of monkeypox spreads across US as CDC begins releasing vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced they are beginning to release a stock of monkeypox vaccine amid a surge in the low number of suspected cases in the United States.

The CDC said as of Monday, one confirmed and four suspected cases of the viral disease, which is similar to smallpox but much less severe, had been identified in the United States. dr Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Pathogens and Serious Consequence Pathology, said during a press briefing that nationwide stocks of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine — approved to prevent monkeypox and smallpox — were being released to high-risk groups.

“It’s likely that more cases will be reported in the United States,” McQuiston said. “We are now working to develop recommendations to ensure that the vaccine stocks that we have are available to those who need them and that physicians can use them to decide what is right for their patients.”

“We have a good stock of vaccines,” she later added. “Right now we have over 1,000 cans of [the Jynneos vaccine] available and we expect this level to increase very rapidly in the coming weeks as the company makes more doses available to us.”

Monkeypox cases spread CDC vaccine release
The CDC said it was releasing stocks of monkeypox vaccine as a small number of suspected cases rose in the United States on Monday. Monkeypox lesions are shown on a person’s hand in this May 27, 2003 photo provided by the CDC.

The Jynneos vaccine is one of two available vaccines that could be used to prevent monkeypox. The US has a stockpile of more than 100 million doses of the other older-generation vaccine, known as ACAM2000, which McQuiston said would require “serious discussions” before it could be used because of “possible significant side effects.”

Asked whether anyone in contact with the confirmed or suspected monkeypox patients was administered the Jynneos vaccine, of which the US ordered millions of additional doses last week, McQuiston said there was “an application to clear the Jynneos vaccine” the National Stockpile for some of the high-risk contacts of some of the early patients.”

Although not officially confirmed, the four suspected US cases are most likely monkeypox, as tests have confirmed that the pathogen in question belongs to the orthopoxvirus family, which includes both monkeypox and smallpox. The CDC expects to analyze samples from the cases for final confirmation this week. A small outbreak of monkeypox, typically found only in Africa, first appeared in the United States in 2003.

Smallpox was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980, and no naturally occurring cases have been recorded since. The Jynneos vaccine was developed in part because of ongoing concerns that the virus – with a mortality rate of about 30 percent – could return as a bioterrorism agent. Monkeypox remains rare and is believed to have a mortality rate of between 1 and 10 percent.

According to the World Health Organization, there are currently at least 92 cases of monkeypox in 12 countries, with many more potential cases being investigated. On Sunday, President Joe Biden said the world “should be concerned” that the virus would continue to spread.

news week contacted the CDC for comment. Suspicion of monkeypox spreads across US as CDC begins releasing vaccine

Rick Schindler

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