DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization Tuesday for health care providers to administer the monkeypox vaccine in a new way. The move is intended to stretch the nation’s short vaccine supply.
Providers will start administering one-fifth of a normal dose of monkeypox to eligible Americans, although doses are not available yet in the Miami Valley.
“Given the contingent spread of the monkeypox virus at a rate outpacing our current vaccine supply, our agency is starting to explore viable scientific options,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf.
Monkeypox is spread from intimate skin-to-skin contact and typically not through respiratory infections, extremely different from the COVID-19 virus.
“The day-to-day risk that we are experiencing makes it very unlikely that we will come into contact and contract monkeypox,” said Miami Valley Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon.
Clark County Combined Health District’s Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said monkeypox vaccines have been distributed in Columbus and Cincinnati, but not yet in the Miami Valley. However, if you happen to be exposed and not test positive, the exposure may help strengthen your immune system.
“There is what’s called post-exposure prophylaxis, so that would be when you’ve been exposed but you don’t test positive, we don’t know that you have monkeypox but it helps ramp up your immune system more rapidly,” said Patterson. “It may prevent you from getting it or prevent you from getting not as bad of a case.”
Local health leaders said they don’t anticipate the current monkeypox spread to develop into a full-blown pandemic for several reasons.
“You get these pox on your body, face and arms and that’s going to slow down person-to-person contact when they see the pox so there are multiple reasons why we don’t think it’s going to become a raging pandemic like H1N1 or even worse, with COVID-19,” said Patterson.
The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency last week in an effort to slow the growing outbreak that has infected more than 8,900 Americans. Officials announced a separate determination Tuesday that allows the Food and Drug Administration to expedite its review of medical products or new uses for them, such as the dose-sparing technique for Jynneos.
The FDA authorized the new approach for adults 18 and older who are at high risk of monkeypox infection. Younger people can also get the vaccine if they are deemed high risk, though they should receive the traditional injection, the agency said.
The first case of monkeypox was confirmed in Montgomery County on Monday. Public Health said that the person has since been isolated and is receiving treatment. Any people who might have come into contact with this person have been contacted.