What is happening
Vaccinations are offered to people at high risk of disease, but vaccine doses are limited.
Why is it important?
The vaccine could be an important step in preventing the spread of monkeypox, which the WHO has declared a public health emergency.
What does it mean to you?
Some men who have sex with men, as well as other people who have been exposed to monkeypox, are eligible for the vaccine. Given the limited supply, you will likely only receive the first dose of the two-dose vaccine for now.
Monkeypox outbreaks are on the rise in the United States, with most states reporting cases. More than 4,900 cases have been reported nationwide, with the most in New York, followed by California. New York state and San Francisco declared local health emergencies on Thursday, taking steps to unlock more funding and expand testing and vaccination resources.
There is a vaccine for monkeypox, Jynneos, but access has been difficult for those who need it (some gay and bisexual men, medical workers are also eligible). Federal officials have acknowledged that vaccine demand is outstripping supply, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is moving more doses to states. As of this week, HHS said it had delivered more than 336,000 doses in the United States. The government has pledged that a total of 6.9 million doses will be available by mid-2023, but some critics have warned that the overall public health response to monkeypox has been too slow.
Dr. Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, an infectious disease specialist and senior scientist. “We’re kind of playing chase,” Amesh Adalja said.
In some areas, such as San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC, people who are eligible for the vaccine receive only the first dose of a two-dose series. Officials said it would still provide protection against monkeypox and was consistent with the response in other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom.
What we know about the currently available Jynneos monkeypox vaccine and who it’s suitable for. Also, what you need to know about ACAM2000, an older generation vaccine that works against monkeypox.
What is the monkeypox vaccine?
There are two vaccines that work against monkeypox in the US national stockpile. Both are expected to work before exposure to monkeypox as well as after exposure before symptoms start. (The fact that vaccines work after exposure is what distinguishes monkeypox from diseases like COVID-19.)
Gynneos (developed by Bavarian Nordic) is a new generation vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019 against monkeypox and smallpox. This is a two-dose vaccine, with each shot given four weeks apart. It uses an attenuated virus and is approved for people 18 and older who are at high risk of contracting monkeypox or smallpox.
Jynneos is a vaccine that is being shipped and is currently being used to control monkeypox in the United States. It’s in limited supply, but the CDC says more may be available in the coming weeks and months.
Jynneos is the newest monkeypox vaccine, but it’s not the only one in the US stockpile.
ACAM2000 is a second-generation smallpox vaccine that also works against monkeypox. (The two diseases are closely related, and both are caused by orthopoxviruses, which makes it possible.) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it is also ready to ship more supplies of the ACAM2000 vaccine from Jynneos if needed. it is a second choice in monkeypox reaction because it has a side effect profile that is not safe for some people.
ACAM2000 is administered differently than the usual vaccinations we are used to. It is given by dipping a needle into the vaccine solution, then “puncturing” the upper arm several times. It will cause a local infection (“pox”) that causes an immune response.
Although ACAM2000 does not cause smallpox, it contains a live vaccine virus that is not suitable for everyone. It can be dangerous for immunocompromised people, pregnant women, and those with certain heart or skin conditions such as eczema.
Smallpox was declared eradicated from the world in 1980. The US stopped routine vaccination against it in 1972, although some health care workers or people working in laboratories may have been vaccinated. According to the CDC, ACAM2000 is a derivative of Dryvax that helps eliminate smallpox.
Who needs the monkeypox vaccine?
The exact criteria for who should get the monkeypox vaccine depends on the city or state people live in and how widespread the outbreak is, but men who have sex with men. and Those who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the past two weeks (for example, met their intimate partner or partners through a social media app like Grindr) are eligible in cities like New York. This is because most cases of the current outbreak are in gay and bisexual men, although anyone in close contact with monkeypox can contract the disease.
According to the CDC, you meet the criteria for the monkeypox vaccine if:
- You are a contact of someone with monkeypox or have been identified through contact tracing.
- You have had a sexual partner with monkeypox in the past two weeks.
- You have had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in an area where monkeypox is common.
If you are concerned about monkeypox and think you are at high risk of exposure, check your city and state’s current guidelines. You can also contact your doctor or book a vaccination appointment online, a process that will help you go through the eligibility criteria. Here is New York City’s immunization schedule website. You can make an appointment and find vaccinations in San Francisco by calling one of the city clinics or visiting the location.
How effective are vaccines? How long does it take to work?
The CDC says the Jynneos vaccine takes two weeks (14 days) after the second dose to establish immunity, and ACAM2000 takes four weeks for maximum immunity. Although many people currently only take the first dose of Jynneos, early research suggests that one dose may still provide some protection, at least for a shorter period of time.
Because the monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. is so new, it’s not clear how effective vaccines will be in the current situation, according to the CDC. The agency says Jynneos’ effectiveness against monkeypox has been confirmed in animal studies. Although it will not be used in most cases, ACAM2000 is closely related to the Dryvax vaccine, which helps prevent smallpox. The effectiveness of ACAM2000 is confirmed by animal studies as well as human clinical trials.
The CDC says that you should still self-isolate if you develop monkeypox symptoms, such as a rash, after being vaccinated. For the vaccine to be most effective after exposure, the vaccine should be given within four days of exposure, according to the CDC. If given between four and 14 days after exposure, it may not prevent infection but is expected to reduce symptoms, the agency says.
Why is there a stockpile of monkeypox vaccine in the US?
The US has a stockpile of Jynneos and ACAM2000, not because the country is concerned about an outbreak of monkeypox (which has been endemic in several African countries for years), but in case smallpox becomes a public threat again. Smallpox was declared eradicated in the 1980s, and the last natural outbreak in the United States occurred in 1949. But smallpox is usually much more severe than monkeypox, and officials worry it could be used as biological warfare.
“The reserve was created during a biological weapons attack on the United States with smallpox,” Adalja said. According to Adalja, in this case, health workers will not prescribe vaccines or use only the new generation vaccine.
“If there was smallpox, we would use whatever vaccine we had to fight it,” he said.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health goals.