Eligible individuals at risk for monkeypox who have not received a single dose of vaccine are fourteen times more likely to get infected with the virus compared to those who have gotten a shot, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“There have been limited data on how well the Jynneos vaccine performs against monkeypox in real-world conditions,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters during a briefing on Wednesday, per CNN.
“These new data provide us with a level of optimism that the vaccine is working as intended,” she continued.
According to Bob Fenton, the White House monkeypox response coordinator, more than 800,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine have been given out so far. Meanwhile, the CDC has estimated that 1.7 million gay and bisexual men in the country are at the highest risk of catching the disease.
CNN also reported that multiple health officials acknowledged that the CDC’s data—collected from thirty-two states from the end of July through early September—has the Biden administration “feeling increasingly optimistic about the efficacy of the two-dose Jynneos monkeypox vaccine.”
“We are cautiously optimistic about the study and think if we continue to get vaccines out to those that are at highest risk for disease, and if we continue to promote the behavioral changes that we know work, that the combination of those two will allow us to continue to see decreases in cases and hopefully eliminate the current monkeypox outbreak in the United States,” one senior health official told the news outlet.
However, the official added that the findings aren’t entirely bulletproof. For example, the data can’t say how much changes in human behavior might be a factor for those who are vaccinated.
“What it doesn’t let us do is fully disentangle pieces of this that may be behavioral change pieces that may be related to sexual networks or to who people are coming into contact with,” the official explained. “We know that at the start of the monkeypox outbreak, a lot of gay and bisexual men changed their behaviors.”
Roughly four months into the global outbreak—which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international emergency back in July—there are more than 68,000 cases across 106 countries, according to the CDC. Here in the United States, there are more than 25,000 monkeypox infections across all fifty states.
Deaths are rare, however, with more than 99 percent of people infected with the strain currently circulating in the United States making a full recovery. The disease is known to resolve in most patients within four weeks.
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.