As a monkeypox outbreak quietly gains steam in the U.S. and elsewhere, American health officials are laying out a plan to stop it. One major component is vaccinations.
Tuesday, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed a plan to make available 1.6 million doses of Bavarian Nordic's smallpox and monkeypox vaccine Jynneos by the end of the year, according to press reports. Of that total, officials will immediately make available 56,000 doses in areas of high transmission.
They'll follow that release with another 240,000 doses in the coming weeks, then with another 750,000 doses over the rest of the summer, USA Today reports. The officials plan to release another 500,000 doses in the fall, taking the total supply to around 1.6 million doses.
The doses are intended for people with known exposures to the virus or those who are at high risk. At a briefing, CDC official Jennifer McQuiston said that intimate or sexual contact appears to be a "primary driver for transmission," as quoted by USA Today.
Officials say people should get vaccinated if they have had a sexual partner diagnosed with the illness. Men who have sex with men—and who have had multiple partners in areas of high transmission—should seek vaccination as well, officials said.
Bavarian Nordic's Jynneos vaccine has been in high demand for more than a month since monkeypox cases started cropping up in Europe and North America. In the U.S., the vaccine won approval in 2019 to prevent smallpox and monkeypox in people determined to be at high risk.
Outside of the U.S., Bavarian Nordic in mid-May inked a vaccine order with an unnamed European country. After that order, the company has twice lifted its 2022 revenue forecast after more orders came in.
Also on Tuesday, CDC officials said they're starting up a Emergency Operations Center to respond to the monkeypox outbreak. The center will be staffed by 300 people.
While the monkeypox outbreak has caused alarm for a public on edge after more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts have said that monkeypox isn't likely to become the next global pandemic. That's because it's an existing virus with vaccines and therapeutics readily available, and it appears less contagious.