The White House announced Thursday it will make an additional 1.8 million doses of monkeypox vaccine available for distribution beginning next week.
At a news conference, White House national monkeypox response coordinator Bob Fenton said the additional doses will be available for U.S. jurisdictions to order starting Monday, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra also took part in the news briefing.
Fenton said in the less than 10 days since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC authorized the Jynneos vaccine for emergency use against monkeypox in individuals 18 years of age and older, HHS has delivered nearly 1 million doses to U.S. states and cities, making it the largest program of its kind for monkeypox vaccine in the world.
Fenton said the additional doses are part of the National Monkeypox Response Team’s plan to address the viral disease’s outbreak in the United States and mitigate its spread.
He said HHS has been working on launching a pilot program that will provide up to 50,000 doses from the national stockpile to be made available for events that will have high attendance of gay and bisexual men.
While monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection, or STI, it has been found to be disproportionally affecting men who have sex with men. The disease can spread through close or intimate physical contact such as hugging, kissing and sex. It can also be transmitted by touching infected items such as clothing, bedding or towels.
Fenton said the Biden administration has also significantly increased availability and convenience of monkeypox tests, expanding capacity from 6,000 tests per week to 80,000 tests per week.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.