The United States waited to order the preparation of bulk stocks of monkeypox vaccine, in part for fear that they would lose their shelf life

“We thought about using the vaccine in bulk because once you take it out of the bulk, you lose years of shelf life,” an HHS spokesperson told CNN.

This initial delay, first reported by The New York Times, should come under closer scrutiny as cases of monkeypox rise in the United States and some public health experts warn that the country has no not enough vaccines on hand to contain the spread.

When the first confirmed case of monkeypox appeared in the United States on May 18, the country had only 2,400 doses of the Jynneos vaccine in the national strategic stockpile. In the following days, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), an office of HHS, ordered that 72,000 doses of Jynneos vaccines – which were already bottled and ready for distribution – be sent from Denmark to the United States.

White House selects FEMA and CDC officials to coordinate monkeypox response

But the first time the ASPR ordered bulk supplies of government-owned vaccines to be bottled and sent to the United States — half a million doses in total — was not until June 10, depending on the agency. (At this point, there were fewer than 50 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States, according to HHS.)

Those doses haven’t arrived in the United States yet, as monkeypox cases continue to climb in the country.

In July alone, the United States ordered an additional 5 million doses of the bulk vaccine supply to be bottled and sent to the United States, but due to the lengthy bottling process, those- these also won’t start arriving in the United States until the end of this year – with many of them not expected to arrive until even 2023. Of the 6.9 million monkeypox vaccines that states United States have obtained so far, 1.1 million have been offered to states and local jurisdictions.

HHS’ claim that part of the reason the government waited several weeks to order large quantities of frozen Jynneos vaccines to be bottled and sent to the United States is because once they’re out of storage they lose years of shelf life, comes amid growing scrutiny of the United States’ initial vaccine strategy against monkeypox.
CNN reported last week on growing concern that the United States may have lost its chance to contain the monkeypox virus. Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Havey Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told CNN that the federal government’s early vaccination strategy was “simply doomed.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times also reported that HHS seriously “miscalculated the need” for vaccines early in the outbreak. According to the Times, by the time the government ordered bulk vaccine stocks to be bottled for distribution, “Danish vaccine maker Bavarian Nordic had booked other customers and was unable to get the job done for a while. months”.

Leave a Comment