The United States has declared a public health emergency for monkeypox, raising awareness of the outbreak affecting more than 70 countries around the world.
The big picture: Two-thirds of Americans said in an Annenberg Public Policy Center survey they think there is no vaccine against monkeypox or they aren’t sure. But there is and here’s what you need to know about it.
Is there a vaccine against monkey pox?
There are two vaccines that are used to prevent monkeypox infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The Jynneos vaccine, manufactured by the Danish company Bavarian Nordic, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent monkey pox.
- ACAM2000, from the company Sanofi Pastuer Biologics, has been approved by the FDA for use against smallpox infection and for monkeypox under an expanded access application, the CDC said. ACAM2000 appears to have more side effects and a higher number of side effects.
Both vaccines are smallpox vaccines, which are believed to be effective in preventing monkeypox.
Worth nothing: There is currently a limited supply of the Jynneos vaccine. The United States has placed orders for the vaccine to meet growing demand for vaccination, health officials told reporters on Thursday.
- The ACAM2000 has a larger stock of vaccines available, but the CDC does not recommend them for people with certain health conditions.
How many injections do the Jynneos vaccine and ACAM2000 need?
- Jynneos vaccine requires two shots. The immune response lasts for 14 days after the second dose, according to the CDC.
- ACAM2000 has one dose. It takes four weeks for the immune response to reach maximum strength, according to the CDC.
Differences Between Jynneos Vaccine And ACAM2000
The Jynneos Vaccine contains a live virus that does not replicate and is associated with fewer ill effects, the CDC said.
- Healthcare providers are also more comfortable distributing the vaccine because it is administered via needle injection.
- The CDC says boosters are recommended every two years.
But ACAM2000 is divided by multiple punctures, leading to possible scarring. The stainless steel needle is dipped in a reconstituted vaccine — a method commonly used for orthopox vaccinations, the CDC said.
- The vaccine contains a virus that can be transmitted through close contacts.
- ACAM2000 has also been associated with side effects, such as myocarditis.
- Health officials recommend boosters for this vaccine every three years.
- This vaccine is derived from Dryvax, which was previously used to eradicate smallpox.
How effective is the monkeypox vaccine?
Several observational studies found that the smallpox vaccine is 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization.
- Those who have had a smallpox vaccination before may have a milder case of monkeypox.
However, this is based on research from the 1980s into an outbreak of monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- A similar study from the 1990s found that 15% of 84 people with monkeypox had also previously been vaccinated against smallpox, according to the CDC.
Heinz Weidenthalervice president of clinical strategy at Bavarian Nordic, which makes the Jynneos vaccine, told MIT Technology Review that animal studies have shown the vaccine provides “80 to 100%” protection against the disease.
- It’s hard to understand how effective the vaccines are for people because it hasn’t been tested on them, he said.
Worth nothing: The CDC said no data is available on the effectiveness of the vaccines for the current monkeypox outbreak.
How does the vaccine work?
The Jynneos Vaccine contains a live attenuated virus related to monkeypox and smallpox that does not replicate in the human body, according to the CDC. You can’t get monkeypox or smallpox with the vaccine, New York state health officials said.
- It is administered in two 0.5 millimeter doses under the skin 28 days apart.
- The CDC recommends giving the vaccine between four and 14 days after exposure.
- Vaccination can reduce symptoms, which begin one to two weeks after infection, but it cannot completely prevent the disease, according to the CDC.
The ACAM2000 Vaccine contains a live version of the Vaccinia virus that replicates, allowing your body to develop immunity.
- It is given in one dose through multiple punctures with a forked needle, which is often used for smallpox.
What are the side effects of the monkeypox vaccine?
For the Jynneos vaccine, side effects include pain, swelling and redness at the injection site, according to the CDC.
- Fatigue, headaches and muscle aches are similar reactions from the clinical trials of the vaccine.
The ACAM2000 monkeypox vaccine comes with the risk of side effects, including myocarditis and/or pericarditis, according to the CDC.
- ACAM2000 will be made available to those if their healthcare practitioner says the risks of monkeypox outweigh the risk of the vaccine’s side effects, according to the CDC.
Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine?
The CDC has limited eligibility for those who want a monkeypox vaccine.
- Current CDC recommendations include those who have been in close contact with someone infected with monkeypox and those who had multiple sex partners in the past two weeks in an area with a high number of confirmed cases.
- Having a large number of sexual partners is not enough to get you a vaccine as it is not a sexually transmitted disease.
- Men who have sex with men and their sexual partners are currently considered to be at higher risk.
- The United States has enough vaccines on hand to treat one-third of the nearly 1.6 million gay and bisexual men considered high-risk, TSWT previously reported.
- The U.S. likely needs a total of 3.2 million doses to cover the population at risk, J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in a recent podcast.
- Monkeypox vaccines may not be readily available to high-risk Americans if cases continue to rise, the Washington Post reports.
What’s next: US health officials said on Thursday that nearly 800,000 vaccine doses against monkeypox will soon be made available for distribution
- But in some hotspot states where monkeypox is on the rise, there is a discrepancy between how many doses are needed and how many are assigned.
- The US will receive another 150,000 vaccine doses against monkeypox in its strategic national stockpile in September, health officials told reporters on Thursday. These doses were previously scheduled to arrive in October.
Go deeper… 1 in 5 Americans are afraid they will get monkey pox