The demand for the monkeypox vaccine has steadily increased throughout the United States as the Biden administration has failed to keep up the supply.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that the “number of monkeypox vaccine doses distributed across the United States has more than tripled since last week,” according to CNN, but the supply continues to fall short of the demand.
Though not a sexually transmitted disease, spreading only through skin-to-skin contact, the virus has thus far predominantly affected gay men in urban areas like New York City and Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that “more than 1.5 million men who have sex with men are eligible for the monkeypox vaccine.”
As many as 132,000 doses of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine have been distributed across the nation – not nearly enough to meet the current demand.
Dr. David Holland, chief clinical officer of the Fulton County, Georgia, Board of Health, told CNN that his office received an “allotment of 200 vaccines, and the appointments for that went in about an hour and a half.”
Washington, D.C., has received the most vaccines, followed by New York. The CDC said it will allocate vaccines based on the “number of cases and the population at risk in a specific area.”
Democrats from New York City Mayor Eric Adams to California State Senator Scott Wiener have publicly asked the Biden administration to step up efforts to meet the demand for vaccines.
“While we appreciate the approximately 7,000 vaccine doses that have been sent to New York City thus far, and the approximately 14,500 doses we expect to receive by the end of the week, we urgently need far more to slow the spread and protect at-risk populations,” Eric Adams wrote to the administration.
“Within less than 10 minutes of releasing new appointments for our vaccine clinics last week, all appointments were taken,” he added.
In a joint statement, California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) and Assemblymember Matt Haney (D) scolded the Biden administration for “failing to order enough vaccine doses to prepare for this foreseeable outbreak.”
Haney and Wiener wrote:
We have very little time to contain this outbreak and prevent it from getting out of control and potentially becoming endemic. The good news is that we have an effective vaccine that prevents monkeypox. The bad news is that the federal government has once again had a public health failure, this time by failing to order enough vaccine doses to prepare for this foreseeable outbreak.
Vaccination is how we control Monkeypox before it spreads broadly.
The feds need to accelerate purchase & distribution of the vaccine.
We need to push the vaccine out aggressively at the local level.
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) July 8, 2022
On Wednesday, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Coronavirus response coordinator, said that more vaccines will be arriving from Denmark within weeks.
“The issue is, we need to get more vaccines out there,” said Jha. “We are incredibly focused on making sure that vaccine doses get to the United States and get out to places like New York City. Do we wish we had more doses? Of course. We had a stockpile, and what we need is more. We are getting more.”