As Monkeypox hits African American community hard, Biden administration ramps up vaccine

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

The Biden-Harris administration has announced that it will increase the US monkeypox vaccine supply by making an additional 1.8 million doses of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine available beginning Monday, August 22.

According to a White House fact sheet, the Department of Health and Human Services has set aside 50,000 doses of vaccine from the strategic national stockpile, which health departments hosting large-scale events can request in addition. of their existing allocations and supplies.

“Since the first case was confirmed in the United States, the administration has led a whole-of-government response to make tests, vaccines, and treatments more widely available to communities across the country and has worked with the LGBTQI+ community to provide information and resources directly to communities most at risk of contracting the virus,” administration officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which found that African Americans account for 26% of monkeypox cases, compared to 12% of the population.

The CDC noted that Hispanics accounted for 28% of cases despite making up 19% of the population.

Additionally, CDC officials have reported that areas with high numbers of cases that have not submitted case reports are more racially and ethnically diverse.

“As such, the reported data may underestimate disparities,” CDC officials noted.

“Furthermore, the share of cases among blacks has increased in recent weeks, suggesting growing disparities for this group.”

According to the White House, the Biden-Harris administration has delivered nearly one million doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine to jurisdictions – the largest JYNNEOS MPV vaccine program in the world.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration announced emergency use authorization of the JYNNEOS vaccine to be administered intradermally in individuals 18 years of age and older deemed to be at high risk for VPD without compromising the level of immune response achieved or the vaccine safety. .

“This action means that each vaccine vial can be used for up to five doses since the appropriate dose for intradermal administration is 0.1ml compared to the 0.5ml required per dose administered subcutaneously,” they said. notice the administration officials.

The CDC also released a “robust set of resources and tools to help jurisdictions train providers and healthcare professionals on how to administer the vaccine intradermally.”

Administration officials said that in less than ten days after the FDA’s EUA on intradermal delivery, some of the nation’s largest counties have completely transitioned to intradermal delivery of the JYNNEOS vaccine for eligible adults. , including Los Angeles County, California, and Fulton County, Georgia.

The increased availability of vaccine doses has allowed more jurisdictions to offer second doses to eligible people.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is given in two doses, four weeks apart, for maximum protection, White House officials noted.

They said the Biden-Harris administration has also dramatically increased the availability and convenience of orthopoxvirus testing, increasing testing capacity from 6,000 tests per week to 80,000.

In addition, the administration has taken a number of steps to make TPOXX, a treatment for MPV, more available for prescription, and today’s announcements build on those actions.

Health and Human Services will also launch a pilot program to provide additional vaccine stipends to state and local health departments in jurisdictions with large events that attract gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. men in the weeks and months to come.

The pilot program sets aside 50,000 doses from the strategic national stockpile that jurisdictions can request to order in addition to their existing vaccine allocations and supply.

“The number of additional doses made available to a jurisdiction will be based on the size and nature of the event and the ability to reach attendees most at risk for VPD,” administration officials said. .

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