The Biden administration is moving forward with a plan to increase the US monkeypox vaccine supply by as much as five times, ABC News reported Tuesday.
In an announcement, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said he issued a determination, made possible by the public health emergency declared last week, that will allow the Food and Drug Administration to authorize changing the method of injection for the vaccines.
The new approach would produce up to five more doses from each vial by using an injection method that requires less vaccine per shot.
The vaccine would be injected into the second layer of the skin, just below the first visible layer. Most routine vaccinations are given as intramuscular or subcutaneous shots, which go deeper.
Health experts said the vaccine given intradermally — just under the skin — could be as effective against monkeypox.
Bob Fenton, the White House monkeypox response coordinator, called the new approach a "game changer when it comes to our response and our ability to get ahead of the virus."
The U.S. now has over 2.2 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine for distribution, up from 441,000. That's enough to vaccinate 1.1 million more people.
Between 1.6 and 1.7 million people are eligible and at-risk, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 600,000 doses have already gone out, which could be enough to vaccinate about 300,000 people.
The FDA issued an emergency use authorization earlier on Tuesday that allows health care providers to move forward with administering the vaccine immediately. The emergency use authorization also allows children under 18 who are at high-risk of monkeypox to get the vaccine.
The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency last week, after cases of the disease were recorded in all but two states.
Before that, New York City declared the monkeypox disease a "public health emergency". New York City Mayor Eric Adams and city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said at the time that "New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure.”