Some states and jurisdictions are hitting early bumps in the rollout of the US government’s new approach to expanding access and supply of monkeypox vaccines to more at-risk Americans, local officials told ABC News, as providers face a steep learning curve with the new vaccine. method.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced it was launching a new plan to boost the nation’s monkeypox vaccine supply by shifting the way shots are administered from traditional subcutaneous injections in the arm to the intradermal technique of tiny, thin needles.
The new intradermal technology requires only a portion of the vaccine per shot. Instead of using one vial per vaccine, the approach produces a total of five vaccines per vial, according to federal officials. At the time, these officials acknowledged that giving a shot this way required more technical skill.
Now, several state and local officials across the country have told ABC News that some of their doctors are struggling to get all five doses out of the vial.
“We’ve also heard reports from some of our providers that they’re only able to dispense three or four doses per vial,” Nikki Ostergaard of the Washington State Department of Health told ABC News.
Texas health officials confirmed to ABC News that although some providers have been able to successfully extract five doses from a vial, others “can’t get five doses.” In Maryland, a representative for the Department of Health also confirmed that it has heard anecdotal reports of cases.
The Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) confirmed to ABC News that its executive director Claire Hannan has also heard that some doctors are having trouble with the withdrawal process, and therefore, the organization is working to educate health officials to prepare them. The injection process is good.
“The needles used make a difference. And AIM hopes that this will improve as clinicians become more proficient in ID technology,” an organization representative said in a statement.
White House National Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator Dr. Demetrius Daskalakis told State News that his team has “definitely” heard about problems arising from local jurisdictions, adding that there is a range of amounts that physicians can extract with more reporting. They are getting three to five doses.
Concerns about the intradermal approach from local authorities
In the weeks since the U.S. government announced a change in vaccination strategy, local officials have raised some initial concerns about training health care providers how to administer shots with the new technology.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said at a press conference with Gov. Cathy Hochul this week that intradermal injections are “not as pleasant,” because they can cause scarring and are “very painful.”
“They have more complications on site, that these are not serious, but they are unpleasant,” Bassett said.
But officials say given the ongoing crisis, it’s important to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“We’re struggling with not getting enough doses. And our obligation in public health is always to do what’s best for the most people, and intradermal administration will vastly expand our access to scarce resources,” Bassett said at a news conference.
Hochul noted that this is an “interim approach until supply chain challenges are overcome” and that when an unlimited number of vaccines are available, the state may consider returning to the original way of administering the shots.
In New York City, Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Wasson said Wednesday that it will take “a few weeks” for the city to fully transition to the intradermal approach as they educate local clinics on the practice, but the transition is necessary because it is “really. mandated by the federal government.”
“It’s not optional,” Wasson said at the City Council meeting. “The federal government has made it clear that we won’t get more vaccines unless we switch and that’s why we’re switching.”