HHS shells out $20M to distribute monkeypox vaccines, treatments

AmerisourceBergen now has $19.8 million more in its pocket to speed up delivery of monkeypox vaccine doses and treatments thanks to an HHS contract. 

The department awarded the contract to the Conshohocken, Pa.-based drug company to boost the Strategic National Stockpile's "distribution capacity," according to a Sept. 6 news release

Since the monkeypox outbreak hit the U.S. in May, access to Bavarian Nordic's monkeypox vaccine, Jynneos, and SIGA Technologies' antiviral treatment, Tpoxx, has been strained. 

One of the main issues with monkeypox vaccine supply is the delivery system, which has been shipping doses to five locations per state. Now, the HHS can serve "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 for Tpoxx distribution," the department said. 

Monkeypox cases seem to be plateauing, but a few weeks ago, when monkeypox vaccines were in short supply, the FDA implemented a dose-sparing strategy to divide each vaccine into fifths. 

As critics said the solution wasn't enough due to the difficulty of extracting five doses from one vaccine, the HHS awarded $11 million to a Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing plant that's helping fill orders from Bavarian Nordic and bought $26 million worth of Tpoxx, a treatment tightly wrapped in red tape.

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