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Monkeypox continues to spread in Oregon as new vaccine strategy gets underway

CDC monkeypox vaccine doses.jpg
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for the JYNNEOS vaccine to allow healthcare providers to use the vaccine by intradermal injection for individuals 18 years of age and older who are determined to be at high risk for monkeypox infection. The change means one dose can be split into five doses.

Monkeypox cases in Lane County continue to rise with 17 infections confirmed or presumed-- and more expected. While the vaccine pipeline is slowly filling, health officials acknowledge there are not enough for everyone who needs or wants one.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization to stretch the vaccine supply by splitting doses. Senior Public Health Officer, Dr. Patrick Luedtke said that’s good news.

“We can give one fifth of the existing dose and still have an immunological response. So, instead of giving 0.5 milliliters you can give 0.1. And that means that we have five times as much vaccine as we thought we had.”

Luedtke said now the monkeypox vaccine will be delivered as an intradermal injection, penetrating only the top layer of skin. He said some training may be needed for caregivers who need practice giving the shallow shot.

According to a Washington Post report Wednesday, the manufacturer of the only U.S. approved monkeypox vaccine has expressed some reservations about the dose splitting strategy.

monkeypox hand cells.jpg
An electron microscope image of a sample of human skin showing mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right.

Last week, monkeypox was declared a national public health emergency. Thus far, the outbreak has infected 95 Oregonians from seven counties and more than 9,500 Americans.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.