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Those who face a high risk of contracting mpox could soon be advised to get routine shots to prevent further outbreaks.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel voted earlier this week to recommend that up to 2 million Americans get an mpox vaccine routinely.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said the 2 million Americans recommended to get Bavarian Nordic's JYNNEOS vaccine would primarily consist of gay men and health care workers, who officials say face a higher risk of contracting mpox.
The CDC's current recommendation is that those at a higher risk only get vaccinated during outbreaks. The Food and Drug Administration already approved the vaccine to prevent both smallpox and mpox.
CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen will make the final decision on whether to make the recommendation official.
Bavarian Nordic said it plans to have JYNNEOS ready commercially in the first half of 2024.
"Since the outbreak of mpox last year, Bavarian Nordic has supplied millions of doses of our vaccine to more than 70 countries worldwide, which has had a positive impact on controlling this unprecedented outbreak of mpox," said Paul Chaplin, President and CEO of Bavarian Nordic."Despite the best efforts of numerous governments and health agencies around the world a large proportion of individuals at risk remain unvaccinated and vulnerable to mpox infections. The broadened ACIP recommendation recognizes the significance of maintaining a high awareness of the disease among risk groups and the importance of ensuring broader access to the vaccine beyond an outbreak situation."
In most cases, mpox is painful but not life-threatening.
Typical symptoms of mpox include a rash, fever, malaise, headache, and muscle aches.
Last year during the height of a worldwide outbreak, vaccines were scarce while demand was high. Federal officials worked to make 2.5 million vaccines available to the public.
About 23% of the 2 million Americans who were advised to get the vaccine for mpox got the two-shot series.
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Advocates say the change could serve as a road map for other states that have failed to expand the program.
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