Biden Inks $20 Million Deal to Ramp Up Monkeypox Vaccinations

Biden Inks $20 Million Deal to Ramp Up Monkeypox Vaccinations

On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a $20 million contract with the drug distribution company AmerisourceBergen to expand monkeypox vaccinations and treatments nationwide.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a $20 million contract with the drug distribution company AmerisourceBergen to ramp up monkeypox vaccinations and treatments nationwide, according to a Fox News report.

“Responding to the monkeypox outbreak requires close collaboration between the federal government, states, tribes, and localities,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a release.

“With today’s action, we ensure our local partners receive these critical tools more easily and quickly,” he continued.

The U.S. government has already shipped out roughly 800,000 doses of the two-shot Jynneos vaccine. The newest contract, once implemented over the next few weeks, will allow for up to 2,500 shipments per week of frozen Jynneos vaccine and up to 2,500 ambient temperature shipments per week, which can be used to distribute TPOXX, a drug originally designed for smallpox that is thought to also be effective against monkeypox.

To date, more than 350,000 monkeypox vaccine doses have been administered across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We continue to do everything we can to make the vaccine and therapeutics needed to respond to monkeypox available to jurisdictions as quickly as possible,” HHS Assistant Secretary Dawn O’Connell said in a statement.

“Today’s announcement is the result of our real-time and ongoing conversations with states and jurisdictions aimed at improving the national response. This new commercial contract will help deliver vaccines and treatments to communities and at-risk individuals more quickly and bring us a step closer to ending the current outbreak,” she added.

Health officials are also continuing to provide more resources to local jurisdictions to help transition to a new type of injection designed to stretch out vaccine supply. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization that allows healthcare providers to split vaccine doses in hopes of inoculating up to five times as many people against the disease.

“As we continue to make progress and vaccinate the highest-risk Americans against monkeypox, it’s critical that we make more vaccine readily available to more people,” White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator Bob Fenton said in a release. “We’ve heard from state and local leaders about the importance of ensuring vaccines are distributed to more places, which is exactly what this contract will do. Through this and other strategies within the administration’s monkeypox response, we can reach more people where they are to end this outbreak.”

Roughly four months into the global outbreak—which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared to be an international emergency in July—there are more than 56,000 cases across 102 countries, according to the latest data compiled by the CDC. Here in the United States, there are more than 21,000 monkeypox infections across all fifty states.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.