June 29, 2022 -- The U.S. government plans an “enhanced nationwide vaccination strategy” to fight Monkeypox, the Department of Health and Human Services has announced.

“The strategy will vaccinate and protect those at-risk of monkeypox, prioritize vaccines for areas with the highest numbers of cases, and provide guidance to state, territorial, tribal, and local health officials to aide their planning and response efforts,” the department said in a news release Tuesday.

HHS will make about 300,000 doses available within weeks, including 56,000 immediately. Up to 1.6 million doses should be made available in the United States this year.

The vaccine is given in two doses 28 days apart.

More than 300 U.S. cases have been confirmed in the current outbreak, according to the CDC. And NPR has reported that the outbreak is probably much bigger than reported.

More than 4,000 cases have been reported in the current outbreak, mostly in Europe and North America.

Monkeypox is a viral disease from the same family as smallpox, but it’s usually not as serious. There’s no treatment, but death is rare. The disease typically lasts 2 to 4 weeks.

The vaccine is recommended for people at high risk after exposure to confirmed Monkeypox. That includes those who’ve had close physical contact with someone who was diagnosed with the disease, including sexual partners, and men who have sex with men who recently had multiple partners where Monkeypox was known to be found or in areas where it is spreading, the release said.

“We are focused on making sure the public and health care providers are aware of the risks posed by monkeypox and that there are steps they can take – through seeking testing, vaccines and treatments – to stay healthy and stop the spread,” said Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have vaccines and treatments to respond to the current monkeypox outbreak thanks to years of sustained investment and planning,” said Dawn O’Connell, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “Our goal right now is to ensure that the limited supply of JYNNEOS vaccine is deployed to those who can benefit from it most immediately, as we continue to secure additional vaccine doses.”

Show Sources

HHS: “HHS Announces Enhanced Strategy to Vaccinate and Protect At-Risk Individuals from the Current Monkeypox Outbreak”

NPR: “The U.S. will offer nearly 300,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine in the coming weeks”

CDC: “2022 Monkeypox Outbreak Global Map”

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