“We were thoughtful about using the bulk vaccine because once you remove it from bulk, you lose years of shelf life,” an HHS spokesperson told CNN.
When the first confirmed case of monkeypox emerged in the US on May 18, the country had just 2,400 doses of the Jynneos vaccine in the Strategic National Stockpile. In subsequent days, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), an office within the HHS, ordered 72,000 of doses of Jynneos vaccines — which were already bottled and ready to be distributed — be sent from Denmark to the US.
But the first time the ASPR ordered government-owned bulk supply of the vaccines be bottled and sent to the US — half a million doses in total — wasn’t until June 10, according to the agency. (By this point, there were fewer than 50 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US, according to HHS.)
Those doses have yet to arrive in the US, as monkeypox cases continue to climb in the country.
In July alone, the US ordered an additional 5 million doses of the bulk supply of vaccines be bottled and sent to the US, but because of the lengthy bottling process, those also will not start arriving in the US until later this year — with many of the does not scheduled to arrive until even 2023. Of the 6.9 million monkeypox vaccines that the US has secured so far, 1.1 million have been offered to states and local jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, the New York Times also reported that HHS seriously “miscalculated the need” for vaccines early on in the outbreak. According to the Times, by the time the government ordered the bulk stocks of the vaccine be bottled for distribution, “the vaccine’s Denmark-based manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic, had booked other clients and was unable to do the work for months.”
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