Delivery issues curb monkeypox vaccine supply

Supply chain issues have impeded the nation's access to Jynneos monkeypox vaccines for months, and health officials say the distribution has been "completely inefficient," The New York Times reported Aug. 15. 

There has been a series of missteps contributing to the shortage. Before the current outbreak, the U.S. had a national stockpile of 28 million Jynneos doses, which all expired by 2017 and weren't replaced because of budget restrictions and priorities shifting toward a freeze-dried version of the vaccine, officials said.

New York City and Washington, D.C., reported monkeypox infection hot spots and launched vaccination sites in June. Both cities ran out of their vaccine supply after their first day. More cities and states have since set up monkeypox vaccination sites, but health department officials have decried the vaccine rollout. 

"We had no way to track vaccine shipments, when they actually shipped or when they were going to arrive," Chris Van Deusen, director of media relations at the Texas Department of State Health Services, told the Times. "They just showed up with no notice."

San Francisco's health department tweeted July 15 it received about 4,000 Jynneos doses: "This is less than we hoped for, but we'll take it!"

Supplies for previous public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, were handled by the CDC, but the HHS is in charge of deploying Jynneos doses, according to the Times. Since the CDC isn't taking charge this time, the state and local health departments are in charge of shipping the vaccines after receiving them from the federal stockpile — a process that is further hindering the supply chain, critics say.

"Our response is completely inefficient and breaking the back of state and local responders," Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, told the Times.

The HHS has sent out enough vaccines to cover about a third of the nation's most vulnerable to the disease, and another order isn't expected until October.

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