“We thought about using the bulk vaccine because once you take it out of the bulk, you lose years of life,” an HHS spokesperson told CNN.
When the first confirmed case of monkeypox appeared in the US on May 18, the country had just 2,400 doses of the Jynneos vaccine in its Strategic National Stockpile. In the following days, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), an office within HHS, ordered 72,000 doses of Jynneos vaccines — which were already bottled and ready for distribution — to be shipped from Denmark to the US.
But the first time ASPR ordered the vaccines bottled and shipped to state property — half a million doses in all — wasn’t until June 10, according to the agency. (At this point, there were fewer than 50 confirmed cases of smallpox in the U.S., according to HHS.)
Those doses have yet to reach the U.S., as cases of monkeypox continue to rise in the country.
In July alone, the U.S. ordered an additional 5 million doses of the bulk vaccine to be bottled and shipped to the U.S., but because of the lengthy bottling process, these won’t begin arriving in the U.S. until later this year — with many of them they are not scheduled to arrive until 2023. Of the 6.9 million monkeypox vaccines the US has secured so far, 1.1 million have been offered to states and local jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, the New York Times also reported that HHS “miscalculated the need” for vaccines early in the outbreak. According to the Times, by the time the government ordered stocks of the vaccine to be bottled for distribution, “the vaccine manufacturer in Denmark, Bavarian Nordic, had booked other customers and was unable to do the job for months.” .