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Monkeypox: FDA approves new vaccine dose strategy to stretch supply

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani joins the Live show to break down the FDA's strategy for monkeypox vaccine doses.

Video Transcript

BRAD SMITH: Everyone, switching gears here. The Food and Drug Administration taking a new approach in its administration of the monkeypox vaccine. So the public health agency will now allow healthcare providers to administer the shot intradermally instead of subcutaneously, meaning that the needle will now go between layers of skin rather than the fat layer underneath of it.

The White House says that this will increase the supply of doses as much as five-fold as the intradermal vaccination induces a more potent immune response and requires lower vaccine doses. Joining us to discuss we've got Yahoo Finance's senior reporter Anjalee Khemlani. Anjalee, what did I just read?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: [LAUGHS] I was gonna say, I'm very impressed that you even understood what you read just now. So what we have going on is the FDA basically saying that they're trying to expand the number of doses that are available. We know that there is a shortage of the vaccine against monkeypox.

And we know that there are they're not expecting more supply to come in until next month, late next month. And that's true globally because we're relying on just one vaccine producer, that's Bavarian Nordic, to supply these doses. They have been struggling with manufacturing over time and have come up on a shortage. And this despite the fact that we had a national stockpile of treatments and doses. So the fact that we're facing a shortage in this country is just a result of, you know, breakdown in the system.

But what we're looking at is this the justification for this that the FDA has given us is that they did already do a study that showed that it was equally effective when you put it in under the skin versus a subcutaneously or into that muscle layer. And the reason behind that is-- the reason why they haven't done that is because just intramuscular is a more common method. Intradermal, which is that new method under the skin, it's harder to administer, right? That's why they're not shifting to that for kids. Imagine pinning down a kid and trying to get them--

JULIE HYMAN: Oh my gosh.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Exactly. So that's what the reason is. And we had Dr. Robert Califf, who is the FDA commissioner, explain the logic behind that yesterday at a White House briefing. Listen in.

ROBERT CALIFF: Data from a clinical study of the vaccine published prior to its approval in 2019, evaluated a two-dose series given intradermally compared to subcutaneously. Individuals who received the vaccine intradermally received a lower volume, 1/5, than individuals who received the vaccine subcutaneously.

The results of this study demonstrated that intradermal administration produced a similar immune response to subcutaneous administration. Meaning, individuals in both groups responded to vaccination in a similar way.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So there's been a lot of criticism about this approach, the fact that there aren't greater, more in-depth studies about this. But we do know that there is at least some level of data to support this idea. And so they're just extrapolating on it.

There are some concerns about whether or not this will impact the effectiveness of the vaccine. Right now, this vaccine does not prevent monkeypox. It does just reduce the severity of the impact. So a lot there. And this, of course, as we keep an eye on the growing cases across the country.

Now, we're at more than 9,500-- or near 9,500 in the US alone, accounting for the number one spot globally. And we're keeping an eye on really everything else that the administration is doing, declaring it an emergency, you know, gathering that team, and looking at these treatments and vaccines that are available so far. And that's just where we are at.

JULIE HYMAN: All right, well, interesting that there's a new tool at least, or a new--

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Method.

JULIE HYMAN: A new method. Thank you very much.