September 30, 2022
Does the Smallpox Vaccine Protect Against Monkeypox?

Monkeypox was elevated to a level 2 alert by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday, meaning experts now advise travelers to follow “enhanced precautions.” At the time of publication, 44 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the U.S., per the CDC.

Health authorities are preparing for a higher case count by looking at available vaccines and who may need them should the current outbreak escalate, Steven Gordon, MD, chair of infectious disease at Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF.

The federal government is currently stockpiling the Jynneos vaccine. Manufactured by biotech company Bavarian Nordic, it is the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved vaccine for both smallpox and monkeypox specifically. The U.S. also has reserves (100 million doses) of a smallpox vaccine called ACAM200, according to reporting from CNBC. While smallpox vaccines can provide protection against monkeypox, the Jynneos vaccine is likely to be the “vaccine of choice” should more people need to get vaccinated as a result of the current monkeypox outbreak, Dr. Gordon says.

The federal government currently has more than 36,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine stockpiled and has ordered 36,000 more doses to be delivered in the near future. The U.S. also owns 1 million additional Jynneos vaccines being held by Bavarian Nordic, which can provide another 16.4 million doses if the federal government requests them, per CNBC.

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