“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.
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.
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.
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”.