US tops 1 million mpox vaccine doses given, but coverage lags in risk groups

vaccine bandaid


In its latest snapshot on the nation's mpox vaccine campaign, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said though more than 1 million doses have been given, only 23% of the at-risk population is fully covered with two doses.

In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its latest global update that cases continue to decline, except for in the Western Pacific region.

Some locations have higher coverage, but gaps remain in high-burden groups

The CDC published its mpox update on the vaccine today in the latest edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). As of yesterday, the CDC has reported 30,286 cases, 38 of them fatal.

The Jynneos attenuated smallpox/mpox vaccine against symptomatic infection has shown effectiveness in preventing mpox, and a global outbreak that began in the summer triggered the launch of a US vaccine campaign. The campaign has targeted people—mostly men who have sex with men—who have been exposed, are in situations that could lead to exposure, or have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk, including HIV and recently diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases.

So far, 1,189,651 doses have been given, 452,884 as second doses. Coverage for at-risk groups has reached 36.7% for the first dose and 22.7% for the second dose.

Coverage varies by location, and the six areas with one-dose coverage rates exceeding 50% include three with the highest case counts: New York City, California, and parts of New York excluding New York City. The District of Colombia is the only jurisdiction where two-dose coverage has passed 50%.

The CDC said coverage continues to lag in groups that have a disproportionately high disease burden. It estimates that one in eight first-dose recipients were Black, a group that accounts for one in three mpox cases.

Though US mpox cases have dropped sharply, the nation faces an uncertain future regarding potential virus reintroduction and outbreak resurgence. "Targeted outreach and continued access to and availability of mpox vaccines to persons at risk is important to help prevent and minimize the impact of a resurgence of mpox," the CDC said.

WHO update notes hot spot in Japan

In its update today, the WHO said it has received reports of 228 cases and 1 more death since its last report on March 16, reflecting an increase of 0.3% in total cases. So far, 86,724 cases have been reported from 110 countries. The fatality count is at 112.

Of the 110 countries that have reported cases, only 28 have had new cases within the past 21 days, the maximum incubation period for the virus. More than half of the countries reporting recent cases are in the Americas.

The WHO said cases continue to drop except for in the Western Pacific region, mainly due to a localized outbreak in Japan.

This week's top reads