Biden Administration Plans to Stretch Monkeypox Vaccine Doses Due to Limited Supply: Reports

·2 min read
A man receives a dose of the Monkeypox vaccine
A man receives a dose of the Monkeypox vaccine

ALAIN JOCARD/POOL/AFP/Getty

The Biden administration is set to announce plans to stretch the nation's limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine by allowing an injection method that only uses one-fifth as much per shot, according to multiple outlets.

As early as Tuesday, officials are expected to announce a new emergency declaration that would permit providers to administer one-fifth of the current dose into the skin instead of a full dose into underlying fat, people familiar with the plan told The New York TImes, CNN and The Washington Post.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf indicated last week that the FDA was considering the use of a different injection method which is known as intradermal injection.

RELATED: WHO Declares Monkeypox Outbreak a Public Health Emergency of 'International Concern'

"We're considering an approach for the current doses of Jynneos that would allow health care providers to use an existing one-dose vial of the vaccine to administer a total of up to five separate doses," Califf said, per CNN.

A small dose can be used with intradermal injection because the vaccine is "staying in the skin; you're not going through the skin," Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University, told CNN.

The method — which was previously used for flu and rabies vaccines — produces an immune response due to dendritic cells which are found in the skin. "The skin has special cells that are very good at helping a vaccine stimulate the body's immune system," epidemiologist Dr. Jay Varma told CNN.

Residents wait in line at a DC Health location administering the monkeypox vaccine
Residents wait in line at a DC Health location administering the monkeypox vaccine

Alex Wong/Getty

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"They live in the skin, and they're better at teaching the immune system what they need to respond to," he added.

However, this method — which is administered using a thinner needle — can cause a small bubble forming on the surface of the skin which can lead to scarring, according to The Washington Post.

"It really means, basically, sticking the needle within the skin and creating a little pocket there into which the vaccine goes," Califf said, per The Washington Post, last week. "This is really nothing highly unusual."

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The Jynneos monkeypox vaccine is currently administered in two doses under the skin.

According to The Washington Post, the new strategy may lead people to need additional doses if the same level of protection is not found. Additional training of local health officials may be needed to properly administer the shots.

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The announcement comes after the Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

As of Monday, the US has shipped more than 600,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine to states and jurisdictions.