The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that it will provide approximately $11 million to support the first U.S.-based fill-and-finish effort of the monkeypox vaccine from Bavarian Nordic.
The move follows Bavarian Nordic’s August 18 announcement of an agreement with Michigan-based Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM) to establish the first US site to fill and complete the Jynneos vaccine.
In its statement today, HHS said the agreement between the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and GRAM will allow the company to purchase additional equipment, as well as hire and train personal. The support will allow production to begin later this year, months ahead of the typical 9-month lead time for start-up fill and finish operations.
Xavier Becerra, HHS Secretary, said, “This new agreement strengthens a domestic manufacturing capability that will get us more vaccines sooner to end this outbreak.
In July, HHS placed orders for 5 million vials of Jynneos from its previous bulk vaccine order stored in Denmark. And as part of the contract, Bavarian Nordic agreed to a technology transfer that would allow a US-based contractor to fill and finish 2.5 million vials of Jynneos.
Vaccination campaign intensifies
The increased vaccine supply comes as the national immunization campaign gains momentum, but faces some challenges.
For example, during a White House briefing on August 26, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said very few people had received their second dose needed for completely protect them from the disease, according to Reuters. .
To date, 97% of the doses administered are first doses. The vaccine is given in two doses, 4 weeks apart.
In its latest update, the CDC reported 506 more cases of monkeypox, bringing the national total to 17,432.