In September 2022 the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it was “significantly expanding the number of locations nationwide that can be supported with direct federal shipments of vaccine and treatments”. The intention is to accelerate delivery of these “medical countermeasures” to communities at risk of monkeypox. Monkeypox was declared a PHEIC by the WHO Director General in 2022. The vaccine JYNNEOS is manufactured by Bavarian Nordic. 

Awarding AmerisourceBergen 

The HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) awarded AmerisourceBergen a contract worth $19.8 million. This allows the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to “expand its distribution capacity” and “better support jurisdictional needs”. Over the course of the month, it is expected that the increase will allow for up to 2,500 shipments a week of frozen JYNNEOS, and up to 2,500 ambient temperature shipments a week.  

ASPR has provided the vaccine to jurisdictions “as quickly and efficiently as possible”, according to HSS. This implies that the “resources available” have been a limiting factor. However, the statement refers to more than 800,000 vials of JYNNEOS, shipped by the SNS before September 2022.  

Official positions 

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra described the “close collaboration” required to respond to the monkeypox outbreak. He believes that this development will ensure that partners “receive these critical tools more easily and quickly”. Assistant Secretary Dawn O’Connell stated that this announcement was the result of a “real-time and ongoing” dialogue aimed at “improving the national response”. 

“This new commercial contract will help deliver vaccines and treatments to communities and at-risk individuals more quickly and bring us a step closer to ending the current outbreak.”

The White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator is Bob Fenton. He hopes that this will make the vaccine more “readily available to more people”. 

“We’ve heard from state and local leaders about the importance of ensuring vaccines are distributed to more places, which is exactly what this contract will do. Through this and other strategies within the Administration’s monkeypox response, we can reach more people where they are to end this outbreak.” 

To hear more about vaccines against monkeypox come to the World Vaccine Congress in Europe, 2022.