Image source: Reuters
With monkeypox cases appearing across the United States, vaccines have become sought-after, with strategies implemented to varying results.
The vaccine strategies shifted to accommodate the Biden administration’s low-dose, intradermal approach.
As a result, the shift has stretched vaccine supplies, meeting a growing demand for the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine.
Meanwhile, others have been reporting that the method should allow for five small doses of vaccines; instead, they’ve only been able to extract four.
According to Bob Fenton, the White House national monkeypox response coordinator, over three-quarters of jurisdiction in the United States shifted to implement the intradermal method of administering monkeypox vaccine.
“As of today, 75% of jurisdictions are already applying intradermal administration of vaccine, and another 20% are working to move in that direction,” said Fenton.
Claire Hanna, the executive director of Association of Immunization Managers, shared similar results on a recent survey of immunization managers.
Earlier in August, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization that allows healthcare providers to administer the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine intradermally instead of subcutaneously.
Administering the vaccine intradermally requires a fifth of the dose for the subcutaneous injection, which lets providers get as many as five doses out of the standard one-dose vial.
“It’s a little too early to tell how it’s going to help with the supply meeting demand, but I think logically, you use less vaccine for one person,” said Dr. Emily Volk, the president of the College of American Pathologists.
“This is a dose-sparing approach, so it’s going to allow for the doses that we do have to be usable for many more people. So, to me that is very positive and I am actually heartened that the public health community is thinking outside the box.”
“It also buys time to make more vaccine,” she added.
Vaccine availability and eligibility
The city and county of San Francisco, New York City, Fairfax County in Virginia, Cook County in Illinois, and Dallas County in Texas are among the places with high numbers of monkeypox cases that switched to administering the vaccine intradermally.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health wrote that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Health provided guidance on how to switch to the intradermal technique.
After New York adopted the new intradermal vaccination strategy last week, the city announced it would make more than 12,000 new appointments available to the public.
The appointments are for people eligible for vaccination who haven’t gotten their first dose.
In most places, the vaccine is available for people who are considered to be at-risk of being exposed to the virus.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, vaccine eligibility was expanded last week to include people of all sexual orientation or gender who have had anonymous or multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks.
In Dallas, vaccination eligibility expanded to include adults diagnosed with HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or early syphilis within the past 12 months.
Dr. Sharon Welbel, an infectious disease physician and system director of hospital epidemiology and infection control at Cook County Health in Illinois, has been to meetings with public health officials in other cities.
The public health officials reported they haven’t been able to get five doses out of the vial. However, Dr. Welbel said each of her vaccinators was successful pulling five doses per vial.
But in some regions like Fairfox County in Virginia, vaccine administrators haven’t been able to extract all five doses.
According to Dr. Welbel, Chicago was given the opportunity to vaccinate more people thanks to the smaller shot, prompting the city to switch to the intradermal method.
Some health care providers practiced with similar arms while those who didn’t weren’t allowed to take care of vaccinating people until they were accustomed to the new technique.
The new strategy has been successful so far, and Dr. Welbel said Chicago has been expanding the population of people who are eligible for the vaccine similar to other cities’ eligibility.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.