As monkeypox spread — more than 3,500 cases have been confirmed in the United States so far — vaccine appointments around the country have been snapped up quickly and long lines have formed at clinics offering the shots.
FDA and HHS officials said Wednesday they expedited inspection of the monkeypox vaccine facility in Denmark in response to the outbreak, and more vaccines are still to come. HHS anticipates making around 1.9 million doses available in 2022 with an additional 2.2 million doses made available in the first half of 2023.
Who’s eligible to be vaccinated
The two-dose Jynneos vaccine is available for people at high risk of monkeypox exposure: those who have been identified as close contacts of someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox, those who have had sex with a partner diagnosed with monkeypox within the past 14 days, and those who have had multiple sex partners in the past 14 days in an area with monkeypox spread, according to the CDC.
The vaccine helps protect against monkeypox when given before or shortly after an exposure. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s New Day on Tuesday that the US needs to shift its monkeypox vaccine strategy to reach more people at risk of infection, rather than responding to monkeypox exposures.
“It’s very clear with the spread of this that there now has to be a balance between vaccines available for those who clearly have been exposed, as well as those at risk,” Fauci said.
“What you want to do is a balance between vaccinating those who clearly have had an exposure, but go well beyond that.”
Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the monkeypox virus and last two to four weeks. The virus typically triggers a rash with lesions that can be extremely painful.
Fauci said Tuesday that he doesn’t think the entire population needs to be vaccinated against monkeypox, although “obviously, you’ll leave the door open for any possibility” if monkeypox spreads more widely.
CNN’s Naomi Thomas, Brenda Goodman, Jen Christensen and John Bonifield contributed to this report.