As Monkeypox Spreads, Government Orders Shots for Just 4% of Americans — Ready in 2023

Most of us have been breathing pretty easily and without a mask after two years of panic over the coronavirus, but now there is another virus making its way to the United States.

Right after it was confirmed that monkeypox entered America, the U.S. government ordered millions of doses of a vaccine that is said to protect people from the virus. 

Biotech company Bavarian Nordic makes the vaccine. It has announced that the United States government placed a $119 million order for shots.

The government has the option to buy $180 million more if needed. Even so, if both orders are made, that would mean America would have 13 million doses of the vaccine — less than 4% of the population. 

The company has to convert existing smallpox vaccines into freeze-dried versions. This vaccine is effective for monkeypox, and the freeze-dried version will have a much longer shelf life.

The converted vaccines will be manufactured in 2023 and 2024.

This company has done business with the United States government in the past. Since 2003, it has developed and manufactured almost 30 million doses of vaccines for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Bavarian Nordic is also involved in making vaccines for countries in Europe. 

Paul Chaplin, president and CEO of Bavarian Nordic, said in a statement, “While the full circumstances around the current monkeypox cases in Europe remain to be elucidated, the speed of which these have evolved, combined with the potential for infections beyond the initial case going undetected, calls for a rapid and coordinated approach by the health authorities, and we are pleased to assist in this emergency situation.”

Symptoms of infection

The monkeypox virus was discovered in 1958 and the first human case was reported in 1970.

The symptoms of the virus could include fever and head and body aches. You could also experience exhaustion and a rash that could over your body. The virus can be fatal in up to 10% of those with the infection. 

The most recent outbreak of the virus was found in Europe at the beginning of May. It was found in a person who had just traveled to Nigeria where the virus is endemic.

From that one person, more than 20 cases have spread throughout England, Portugal, and Spain. 

The first case in the United States was declared this week and now six other people are being monitored. 

Andrea McCollum, an epidemiologist for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that she is not overly concerned about the outbreaks, but that it is likely more cases will come in the United States.

‘No Cause for Alarm’

The United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is also saying that there is no cause for alarm. 

“At this time, we don’t want people to worry. These numbers are still small; we want them to be aware of (the) symptoms, and if they have any concerns to reach out to their doctor,” Dr. Murthy said. 

Monkeypox is traditionally found in West and Central Africa and the cases found in other parts of the world are usually linked to international travel, according to the CDC.

The infection has an incubation period of approximately seven to fourteen days.

One of the results of the infection that makes it different from smallpox is the swelling of lymph nodes. After this, there is usually a rash that can start on the face, move to the body and also find its way to the inside of your mouth and the palms and soles of your feet.

This can be very painful as the poxes turn white, are surrounded by red circles, and are filled with fluid. Eventually, they form a scab and heal after up to three weeks.

Even though we are being told not to worry, it is a little hard to breathe again.