New York urges White House to boost monkeypox vaccine production

As monkeypox vaccine supply wanes, members of Congress from New York called on the Biden Administration Aug. 16 to invoke the Defense Protection Act, which they say would ramp up domestic production.

Eleven members penned the letter after New York swelled in the national share of monkeypox cases, accounting for 1 in every 5 infections, according to CDC data

"The Act includes a range of authorities, including issuing loans to expand a vendor's capacity, controlling the distribution of a company's products and the more commonly used power of compelling companies to prioritize the government's order over those of other clients," the letter said. 

"Other clients" is the rest of the world, since only one pharmaceutical company, Bavarian Nordic, has an approved monkeypox vaccine — and the company said it can't meet global demand. 

"It is clear that vaccine demand is quickly outpacing supply throughout the country," the legislators wrote. "In New York, every vaccine appointment has been taken."

New York's struggle to meet demand has been ongoing for weeks, as its health department website crashed twice because of an "overwhelming" number of people seeking vaccine appointments. 

In an effort to increase supply, HHS recently authorized the vaccine to be split into fifths and be administered between, rather than under, layers of skin. The department is also moving up previously stated deadlines, but the next batch ordered from Bavarian Nordic isn't expected until October.

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