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US allowed monkeypox vaccine stockpile to dwindle 99.99% from 20million to 2,400 doses

The United States dipped its stock of monkeypox vaccines from 20 million to just 2,400 doses because it only planned a smallpox outbreak and worked on alternatives, it was revealed today — when California and Illinois declared states of emergency over the virus.

Official documents showed how the ‘strategic’ supply could fall to 0.012 percent from its peak in 2013, when doses of the Jynneos vaccine – which has a shelf life of only three years – ran out.

An attempt was made to supplement it in 2015 when an additional 8 million doses were ordered. When these expired, America signed on for another 1.3 million – but most were still in Denmark when Monkeypox hit because the Food and Drug Administration still hadn’t inspected their manufacturing facility.

Thousands of gay or bisexual men have waited weeks to receive doses, and many have no choice but to sit at home for hours and refresh their browsers in hopes of securing a coveted appointment. States have also complained that they are under-dosed from the national supply.

The revelation published by the New York Times came as the number of cases in America reached 5,800, with a further 622 infections this weekend. There have been no deaths so far, but four have been discovered outside Africa, including two in Spain, where there is an outbreak of similar magnitude.

California and Illinois — which have the third-highest number of cases — both said they would declare a monkey pox emergency today. They are joining New York City and San Francisco to hit the panic button during the outbreak, though federal officials have yet to take a similar step.

America once had 20 million doses of Jynneos vaccine – the preferred option for fighting monkeypox – in its national stash. But these shots, with a shelf life of three years, soon expired. It has since moved to replenish supplies, but bought less as strategy shifted to developing a longer-lasting jab

The map above shows where cases of monkey pox have been identified in the US.  New York has the largest outbreak and is the only state to confirm more than 1,000 cases

The map above shows where cases of monkey pox have been identified in the US. New York has the largest outbreak and is the only state to confirm more than 1,000 cases

Pictured above are men waiting in line for the monkey pox vaccine in Encino, California.  It came after the state governor declared a state of emergency in the area

Pictured above are men waiting in line for the monkey pox vaccine in Encino, California. It came after the state governor declared a state of emergency in the area

Pictured above are men lining up in long lines in San Francisco in early July to receive doses of the monkeypox vaccine.  The city was the first place to declare monkey pox a state of emergency

Pictured above are men lining up in long lines in San Francisco in early July to receive doses of the monkeypox vaccine. The city was the first place to declare monkey pox a state of emergency

America’s national stockpile of these shots was increased after the 9/11 attacks amid fears that terrorist groups could catch and re-release the smallpox virus, which is currently eradicated.

The Jynneous doses in this case were only intended to be offered to vulnerable people, such as young children and older adults. Millions of doses of other shots like ACAM2000 and Dryvax have been taken for the general population, but these are generally not preferred due to the risk of side effects.

However, when the Bavarian, Scandinavian lancing device expired, federal officials decided to invest in the development of new “freeze-dried” lancing device that could last up to ten years – or three times longer than current stock.

Timeline of monkey pox in the United States

1958: Monkeypox is discovered when an outbreak of a smallpox-like virus has occurred in monkeys being held for research.

1970: First human case of the virus is recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was later discovered in a number of other Central and West African countries.

2003: America’s former largest monkeypox outbreak occurs. A total of 47 people have been infected after contact with prairie dogs that contracted the virus on a farm.

July, 2021: Case of monkey pox discovered in the US in a citizen who had recently returned from Nigeria.

Nov 2021: Monkeypox is detected on another US resident who recently returned from Nigeria.

May 2022: A man in Massachusetts is diagnosed with monkey pox, which is the first case in the current outbreak. There are now more than 5,000 cases across the country.

July, 2022: Monkeypox cases are discovered in children and a pregnant woman in the US, in a sign that it is spreading to other groups.

They’ve invested over $1 billion in this so far, but the longer-life shots have yet to be developed.

As supplies dwindled, the federal government also switched to buying the vaccine in bulk — or as a liquid stored in plastic bags. This is stored in Denmark and could not be rolled out immediately because it had to be filled and finished, or bottled to be distributed to the population.

In 2020, an order of 1.3 million additional Jynneos doses was placed to increase national inventory records.

Of these, 372,000 doses were filled and finished by an FDA-approved contractor, meaning they could be quickly shipped to the US for use.

But the rest — nearly a million shots — underwent this process at the company’s new factory, which had not yet been stamped by the FDA. It meant that when Monkeypox struck, they were held up in Denmark while officials carried out the inspection.

federal officials revealed that when Monkeypox first hit, they only had 2,400 doses of Jynneos available.

dr. Gary Disbrow, who led the agency that supported the development of Jynneos and other jabs, told the NYT that with the national stockpile, “Our schedule was for smallpox.”

“With a limited budget, we have to prepare for multiple threats.”

Monkeypox – known from Africa since the early 1950s – was not high on their list of threats because it generally did not circulate outside the continent.

All the vaccines used are designed to fight smallpox, but officials say they could also be used against monkeypox because the two viruses are closely related.

It was revealed when the governors of California and Illinois declared a state of emergency over the monkeypox outbreak, joining New York and San Francisco.

Both states have seen cases escalate in recent weeks, with California now having the second largest outbreak in the country and Illinois the third largest. They have declared a state of emergency to provide more resources to fight the virus and increase the number of people who can hand out the shots.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California, saying the state was “working urgently…to slow the spread of monkeypox.” He added that they used testing and knowledge of contact tracing from the pandemic to fight the virus.

Local LGBT group Equality California applauded the move, saying in a statement that the virus “continues to disproportionately affect gays, bisexuals and queer men.”

Pictured above are vials of the monkeypox and smallpox vaccine in Chicago, Illinois, after the state declared a state of emergency over the virus outbreak today

Pictured above are vials of the monkeypox and smallpox vaccine in Chicago, Illinois, after the state declared a state of emergency over the virus outbreak today

In Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker said, “I declare a state of emergency to expand the resources and coordination efforts of government agencies in responding to, treating and preventing the spread of monkeypox.

“In Illinois, we will ensure that our LGBT community has the resources they need to stay safe, while ensuring that members are not stigmatized for accessing critical health care.”

It is clear that the federal government is also considering declaring monkey pox an emergency, but has yet to take the step. It was reported that this could be as early as last week.

California has so far received 61,000 doses of the vaccine, and in some areas it is aiming to roll it out to anyone who asks. Los Angeles gets a separate vaccine assignment.

This number is well below the 600,000 to 800,000 shots that have been requested. The health department says it is “hopeful that the federal government will provide additional vaccine to meet the state’s request.”

To date, more than 336,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine from the national supply have been distributed to states.

Nearly 800,000 additional doses have also been delivered to the country and are now being allocated to various states and cities.

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