The administration of US President Joe Biden has announced plans to increase the availability of monkeypox vaccines and testing as cases of the rare disease topped 300 nationwide.
A White House statement said the Biden administration has launched the first phase of a national monkeypox vaccination strategy that will vaccinate those at high risk in the country.
Specifically, the administration said about 300,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine will be deployed in the coming weeks, 56,000 of which will be immediately released from national stockpiles to states and jurisdictions with the most cases and populations at risk.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare expects more than 750,000 doses to be available during the summer, with another 500,000 doses to be released in the fall, for a total of 1.6 million this year, it said.
The goal of the initial phase of the strategy is to slow the spread of the disease, the White House said in a statement.
The Jynneos two-dose vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use against smallpox and monkeypox in humans 18 years of age and older.
So far, vaccines have only been given to those who have been exposed to the virus, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends giving these newly released doses to confirmed and suspected smallpox exposures.
Earlier, an independent committee of WHO experts said the monkeypox outbreak does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern.