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CDC Panel Recommends Routine Use of Jynneos Vaccine for High-Risk MPOX Infections

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously advises continued vaccination for high-risk individuals to prevent MPOX, including men who have sex with men.

An independent panel of experts advising the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that individuals at high risk of MPOX infection, including men who have sex with men, should continue to receive the Jynneos vaccine. This recommendation comes even though the recent public health emergency related to MPOX in the United States has passed. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously on Wednesday to make this recommendation a part of routine sexual health care for certain individuals aged 18 and older.

Following a recent vote by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), individuals at high risk of contracting MPOX, such as men who have sex with men, will continue to be recommended to receive the Jynneos vaccine as part of their routine sexual health care. This recommendation extends beyond the prior guidance, which only recommended vaccination for high-risk individuals during the outbreak. The ACIP’s vote was unanimous, and the recommendations now await approval from CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen.

The decision to extend the vaccination recommendation is based on the recognition of the ongoing risk of MPOX infection among certain high-risk groups. In the recent 2022-2023 outbreak, over 31,000 Americans were diagnosed with MPOX, and sadly, 55 individuals lost their lives to the disease, according to data from the CDC. Most of those affected were gay men.

According to the CDC, individuals at high risk for contracting MPOX include gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender and non-binary people who, in the past six months, have had at least one of the following:

  • A new diagnosis of at least one sexually transmitted disease.
  • More than one sexual partner.
  • Engaged in sexual activity at a commercial sex venue or in conjunction with a large public event in an area where MPOX is spreading.
  • Have sexual partners who possess these risk factors.
  • Plan to participate in any of the previously mentioned activities.

The expanded recommendation means that more than 2 million people in the United States are eligible for vaccination against MPOX. However, to date, only approximately 23% of this group has received the recommended two doses of Jynneos, the vaccine designed to prevent MPOX.

The vaccine manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic, is gearing up for a commercial launch of Jynneos in the United States during the first half of 2024. This step aims to improve access to vaccination for high-risk individuals and reduce the prevalence of MPOX within these communities.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has taken a significant step by unanimously recommending continued vaccination against MPOX for high-risk individuals, particularly men who have sex with men. This decision recognizes the ongoing threat of MPOX in the United States, as evidenced by the recent outbreak. It highlights the importance of vaccination as part of routine sexual health care and emphasizes the need for broader access to preventive measures like the Jynneos vaccine to protect high-risk populations.