Those who have not had the vaccine for monkeypox are 14 times more likely to get the illness than those who have, according to fresh, but limited, statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday morning.
The sampled population consists of males who engage in sexual behavior with other men or persons with several sexual partners. The figures provide our first glimpse at how effectively the JYNNEOS vaccine, the most effective method of protection against monkeypox, functions in the real world.
At a briefing on monkeypox held at the White House on Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, “These new data give us cautious comfort that the immunization is functioning as planned.”
Dr. Demetre Daskalaskis, the White House’s deputy response coordinator for monkeypox, requested that individuals disseminate the “early good news.”
He said that “information is power” and that it empowers people to make health-related decisions with more knowledge and confidence.
What caused the dramatic reduction in monkeypox cases in the United States?
Since the beginning of the current outbreak, there has been little information on the effectiveness of the JYNNEOS vaccine, which was initially designed to combat smallpox.
Since the outbreak began in May, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health have conducted many studies into the safety and effectiveness of the JYNNEOS vaccine, mostly at the request of LGBTQ community activists.
Walensky also observed that the new data is only a glimpse, while being optimistic. Concerning the extent of JYNNEOS’s protection, several questions remain unresolved.
For instance, the new vaccination efficacy rate was not predicated on two doses given 28 days apart. Instead, it relied on information gathered two weeks after the first shot.
Even though the majority of federal public health experts advocate two doses, the CDC has not yet provided information on the effectiveness of the vaccine after all doses have been administered.
“These early results, together with similar findings from studies undertaken in other countries, suggest that even a single dose of the monkeypox vaccine gives at least some initial protection against disease. In spite of this, laboratory studies have shown that immune protection reaches its peak two weeks following the second vaccination dose, or “Wednesday,” as Walensky said.
She said, “Because of this, we continue to recommend that individuals get two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine, 28 days apart, in order to provide robust, long-lasting protection against monkeypox.”
According to Walensky, further study is being conducted on the efficacy of two dosages.
The CDC has not yet separated the efficacy data for various injection techniques to see whether there are any differences between the current approach, in which a lower dosage is injected just beneath the skin, and the earlier way, in which a deeper injection is administered.
Also unclear is the extent to which changes in behavior might influence the effectiveness of the vaccination results.
If vaccinated individuals have fewer sexual partners and possibilities for skin-to-skin contact, they may be less likely to get monkeypox.
Eliminating monkeypox is feasible, according to experts, but containing the disease remains challenging.
According to Walensky, a key lesson from COVID-19 is that the CDC intends to make all of its existing data accessible in real time as soon as it becomes available, even while additional data are on the way.
“Through a portfolio of vaccine effectiveness programs, [the] CDC will continue to analyze how well these immunizations are functioning in the continuing outbreak. These endeavors will assist us in determining the extent and duration of the protection provided. “We’ll continue to provide you with further details as they become available,” Walensky added.
Even though the JYNNEOS vaccine is not yet approved for use by the general public, the CDC is expanding the number of at-risk Americans who are eligible to get vaccination against monkeypox.
The inclusion now includes gay or bisexual men who have had one recent romantic relationship or who have just received a new diagnosis of one or more STDs. It also includes sex workers.
Although many states and jurisdictions have already expanded eligibility, the CDC’s latest step puts it more in line with regional guidelines.