Why it matters: Resurgence is possible.
In the United States, there were more than 30,000 cases of smallpox over the past year, with cases declining sharply after last summer’s peak. Smallpox cases have declined globally as well, the World Health Organization announced End the public health emergency earlier this month.
“But the outbreak is far from over, and we need to stay alert and continue our preventive efforts,” Dr. Christopher Braden, director of the CDC’s smallpox incident response, said at a news briefing Thursday.
More than 1.2 million doses of the vaccine were administered in the United States over the past year. But the number of doses administered has declined since then Last summer, nationwide Only 23 percent of people Those considered at risk have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, and there are also wide geographic, racial, and ethnic disparities in vaccine coverage.
Clearly, the vaccine is not a silver bullet. in A new set of issues It was recently reported in Chicago that many patients were fully vaccinated.
The Chicago Department of Health and CDC are currently investigating this group, which now includes 21 people, all of whom have mild symptoms, said Dr. Dmitry Daskalakis, deputy coordinator for the national smallpox response at the White House, at the briefing Thursday.
“What we do know, however, is that vaccination makes infection and spread of smallpox less likely and, more importantly, may reduce the chances of serious illness, hospitalization and death, even if it does not prevent infection,” he said.
BACKGROUND: The vaccine is largely unknown.
Jynneos, made by a small Danish company, is the safer of the two vaccines available for smallpox. It was initially meant to be given in two doses, both injected under the skin, 28 days apart.
because vaccine supplies were limited, However, those responsible deviated from the intended system.
Some are just starting to manage single dose from the vaccine, which some studies have suggested may provide significant protection. Then, last August, federal officials granted emergency authorization for the intradermal dose to help expand the available supply.
But there was little evidence regarding the effectiveness of these strategies, which were based largely on research findings rather than on real patients’ experiences.
What’s next: Officials are preparing a new vaccination campaign.
Cases may increase in the coming weeks “as people gather at festivals and other events” The CDC warned. Public health experts and officials are urging people at risk to get vaccinated before Pride events begin next month.
Dr. Jacqueline L. Chief Medical Officer of Epic Research and one of the principal investigators of the NEJM study.
Dr Daskalakis said additional studies of the vaccine, including research into how well it lasts over time, are currently underway.
Sharon Otterman Contribute to the preparation of reports.