WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Joe Biden must mount a global response to help prevent the continued spread of monkeypox and ensure equitable access to vaccines, advocates said in a letter sent to the White House today, following an announcement that vaccine manufacturer Bavarian Nordic would enter an arrangement to finish vaccine doses.
The letter, signed by ten health and justice groups – including Public Citizen, RESULTS, Treatment Action Group, and the American Friends Service Committee – said the White House still has not offered a global plan sufficient to stop monkeypox from spreading further to vulnerable populations.
Noting that the U.S. currently owns more Jynneos vaccine substance than the rest of the world combined, the letter specifically urges Biden to equitably share doses. “Equitable distribution of vaccines to countries experiencing outbreaks maximizes impact,” says the letter.
The letter also urges Biden to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up and accelerate production of additional finished Jynneos vaccine doses. “Millions of doses worth of bulk vaccine substance sit dormant at a facility in Denmark, waiting to be filled and finished into vaccines for health care providers to administer…. Through the Defense Production Act, the United States Government can surge staffing, ensure available supplies, and enlist additional qualified facilities to accelerate the fill-finish process, expediting availability,” notes the letter.
The advocates also urge Biden to support expansion and diversification of vaccine production capacity globally, noting that diversifying vaccine supply will protect against future shortages inherent under vaccine production monopolies.
“The course of the monkeypox outbreak is not preordained and the decisions your administration takes in the coming weeks and months will be pivotal in charting it,” says the letter.