The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded AmerisourceBergen a $19.8 million contract to improve the delivery of monkeypox vaccines and treatments.
AmerisourceBergen was specifically tasked with expanding distribution capacity and weekly shipments. The company will implement the distribution capability from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) over the coming weeks. This will allow the company to distribute up to 2,500 shipments per week of the frozen JYNNEOS monkeypox and smallpox vaccine and up to 2,500 ambient temperature shipments per week. Though aided by a private company, delivery of and the products themselves will be given to jurisdictions for free.
Before this arrangement, the SNS managed to ship monkeypox-affiliated products to approximately five locations per jurisdiction. By contracting out, the Biden administration hopes to increase countermeasure deployment to communities at the greatest risk of monkeypox infections and better support jurisdictional needs at large.
“We continue to do everything we can to make the vaccine and therapeutics needed to respond to monkeypox available to jurisdictions as quickly as possible,” HHS Assistant Secretary Dawn O’Connell said. “Today’s announcement is the result of our real-time and ongoing conversations with states and jurisdictions aimed at improving the national response. This new commercial contract will help deliver vaccines and treatments to communities and at-risk individuals more quickly and bring us a step closer to ending the current outbreak.”
The JYNNEOS vaccine is manufactured by Bavarian Nordic, and until recently, the United States was reliant entirely on shipments of it from overseas. As of Sept. 2, 2022, the SNS has shipped more than 800,000 vials of the Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine nationwide since the outbreak began in May.
Jurisdictions can also request shipments of the ACAM2000 vaccine, which is in much greater supply but is not recommended for everyone due to significant side effects.
“As we continue to make progress and vaccinate the highest-risk Americans against monkeypox, it’s critical that we make more vaccine readily available to more people,” Bob Fenton, White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator, said. “We’ve heard from state and local leaders about the importance of ensuring vaccines are distributed to more places, which is exactly what this contract will do. Through this and other strategies within the Administration’s monkeypox response, we can reach more people where they are to end this outbreak.”
As of Sept. 6, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed more than 20,700 cases of monkeypox nationwide.