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US govt. orders 13 million monkeypox vaccines ahead of outbreak

Transmission can occur through contact with bodily fluids, sores, and items contaminated with fluids or sores such as clothing and bedding, or prolonged face-to-face contact.

US govt. orders 13 million monkeypox vaccines ahead of outbreak
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
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The U.S. government has ordered approximately 13 million monkeypox vaccines shortly after a Massachusetts man became the first American to be diagnosed with the rare disease in 2022.

On Wednesday, the U.S. government purchased $119 million of Jynneos vaccines from European pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic, which produces the vaccine, Newsweek reported.

In a press release on Wednesday, Bavarian Nordic announced that “the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has exercised the first options under the contract to supply a freeze-dried version of JYNNEOS® smallpox vaccine, thus allowing for the first doses of this version to be manufactured and invoiced in 2023 and 2024.”

The Massachusetts Department of Health announced on Wednesday that “Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body.”

“Most infections last 2-to-4 weeks. In parts of central and west Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products,” health officials added.

According to existing data on monkeypox, the virus does not spread easily between people. Transmission can occur through contact with bodily fluids, sores, and items contaminated with fluids or sores such as clothing and bedding, or prolonged face-to-face contact.

The first detected case of monkeypox in Massachusetts follows detections in Europe, starting in the United Kingdom, where nine men were diagnosed with the disease last month. The virus appears to be sexually transmitted.

The Guardian reported on Wednesday that health authorities in Spain issued an alert of an outbreak of monkeypox after 23 people showed symptoms in line with the disease. 

Similar detections have been made in Portugal.

According to the BBC on Friday, new cases are being reported in Belgium, France, Australia, Germany, and even Canada, following confirmed infections in Italy, Portugal, the U.S, U.K., Sweden, and Italy.

Prior to the global outbreak, monkeypox has been most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa, with instances of the disease often linked to travel to these remote locations.

Monkeypox, which can be best described as rare is frequently mild, and most people recover within a few weeks, Britain's National Health Service says.

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