Monkeypox cases rise in Georgia, small number of vaccines ordered

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Monkeypox vaccine , to be released from national stockpile, for high-risk’ people, CDC says.On May 23, the CDC reported that there has been one confirmed and four suspected cases of monkeypox in the United States.As a result, a vaccine will be released from the nation's stockpile for high-risk individuals.I can report that there has been a request for release of the Jynneos vaccine from the National Stockpile for some of the high-risk contacts of some of the early patients, so that is actively happening right now, Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology within the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, via CNN.The U.S. reportedly has a "good stock" of the vaccine.Right now, we have over 1,000 doses of that available, and we expect that level to ramp up very quickly in the coming weeks as the company provides more doses to us, Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology within the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, via CNN.McQuiston said there's another smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, that could provide protection against monkeypox.The U.S. has more than 100 million doses of that vaccine.ACAM2000 is an older-generation smallpox vaccine that has some potential significant side effects with it. So a decision to use that widely would have to have some serious discussion behind it, Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology within the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, via CNN.We are hoping to maximize vaccine distribution to those that we know would benefit from it. Those are people who've had contact with a known monkeypox patients, health care workers, very close personal contact, and those in particular who might be at high risk for severe disease, Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology within the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, via CNN

Georgia Public Health officials ordered a small number of a monkeypox vaccines for high-risk people as new cases of the virus continue to climb here and around the world.

Federal health officials announced plans Tuesday to send several thousand vaccine doses from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile across the country for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

The administration also said it was expanding the pool of people who are advised to get vaccinated to include those who may realize on their own that they could have been infected. Officials said there have been no U.S. deaths and officials say the risk to the American public is low, but they are working to expand testing and taking other steps to contain the outbreak.

The total number of monkeypox cases in Georgia had increased to seven by early Wednesday — all men who live in metro Atlanta, according to DPH. Georgia’s first-ever case was announced earlier this month. While most of the cases here are associated with either international travel or to traveling to a recent conference in Chicago, the two most recent cases were not associated with travel, according to DPH.

None of the seven Georgia cases are associated with each other, according to DPH. Those who have the virus are asked to isolate and public health staff are reaching out to their potential contacts for testing.

Georgia had ordered the monkeypox vaccine, known by the brand name Jynneos, for “fewer than 10 people” in the state, but more vaccine is expected to be allocated to the state, DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jynneos is a vaccine licensed in the U.S. in 2019 that prevents both smallpox and monkeypox. The vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox disease up to four days after exposure and may reduce the severity of symptoms if given up to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.

Georgia’s first doses of the two-dose vaccine have already been administered to people considered at high risk of exposure, including lab workers, physicians, and those considered a “high-risk contact” to someone infected with the virus, according to DPH.

So far, the government has deployed over 9,000 doses of vaccine. U.S. officials on Tuesday said they are increasing the amount of Jynneos vaccine they are making available, allocating 56,000 doses immediately and about 240,000 more over the coming weeks. They promised more than 1 million more over the coming months.

DPH was expecting to find out how many of these doses will be allocated for Georgia by the end of Wednesday. The state agency said the increased availability of and access to vaccines and testing will help the agency protect those at high risk of infection and respond to outbreaks.

Until now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that vaccines be given after exposure to people whom health officials identify as close personal contacts of cases. But on Tuesday, CDC officials say they are expanding the recommendation to people who were never identified as a contact of a positive case, but may realize on their own that they may have been exposed.

That can include men who have sex with men who have recently had multiple sex partners in a venue where there was known to be monkeypox or in an area where monkeypox is spreading.

“It’s almost like we’re expanding the definition of who a contact might be,” said the CDC’s Jennifer McQuiston. If people have been to a party or other place where monkeypox has been known to spread “we recommend they come in for a vaccine,” she said.

The incubation period for monkeypox — the time from infection to symptoms — is usually seven to 14 days but can range from five to 21 days.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. had identified 306 cases in 27 states and the District of Columbia. More than 4,700 cases have been found in more than 40 other countries outside the areas of Africa where the virus is endemic.

Georgia Health officials have said the overall risk to the general public is low, and nothing like the coronavirus. It does not usually spread easily among people.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization ruled on Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus but expressed concern about the outbreak and rapid spread of the disease.

“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said in a statement.

—The Associated Press contributed to this article.


Monkeypox facts

— Monkeypox is a viral disease that is rarely fatal. It is similar to smallpox but less contagious and less severe.

— Monkeypox can be spread during intimate contact between people, including through sex, kissing, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.

— Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, back pain, muscle aches and low energy. The virus can go on to cause rash and lesions.

— The virus enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, the eyes, nose, and mouth

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention