U.S. to expand monkeypox vaccine, drug distribution through AmerisourceBergen contract

Illustration shows mock-up vials labeled "Monkeypox vaccine" and medical syringe
Mock-up vials labeled "Monkeypox vaccine" and medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken, May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday said it will significantly expand the number of distribution locations for monkeypox vaccines and treatments through a new $20 million contract with AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC.N)

Under the new contract, HHS said it will be able to make up to 2,500 shipments per week of frozen doses of Bavarian Nordic's (BAVA.CO) Jynneos vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), as well as shipments of SIGA Technologies' (SIGA.O) drug TPOXX to up to 2,500 locations.

The national stockpile had been shipping to only about 5 locations per state and other jurisdictions.

"This new commercial contract will help deliver vaccines and treatments to communities and at-risk individuals more quickly and bring us a step closer to ending the current outbreak," HHS Assistant Secretary Dawn O’Connell said in a statement.

Since late May, when a large multi-nation outbreak began in countries where the virus is not endemic, nearly 20,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, according to government data.

The vaccine and TPOXX doses - as well as the distribution - are being provided to states and other jurisdictions for free.

As of Sept. 2, the SNS has shipped more than 800,000 vials of Jynneos and more than 37,000 courses of TPOXX nationwide.

By the end of August, more than 350,000 doses of Jynneos had been administered in 30 jurisdictions that are reporting data on the shots to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved TPOXX in 2018 to treat smallpox, but the drug may be used for monkeypox under a special "compassionate use" protocol from the CDC.

Reporting by Michael Erman Editing by Bill Berkrot

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