US will stretch monkeypox vaccine supply with smaller doses

A man holds a sign urging increased access to the monkeypox vaccine during a protest in San Francisco, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. health officials on Tuesday authorized a plan to stretch the nation's limited supply of monkeypox vaccine by giving people just one-fifth the usual dose, citing research suggesting that the reduced amount is about as effective.

The so-called dose-sparing approach also calls for administering the Jynneos vaccine with an injection just under the skin rather than into deeper tissue - a practice that may rev up the immune system better. Recipients would still get two shots spaced four weeks apart.

The highly unusual step is a stark acknowledgment that the U.S. currently lacks the supplies needed to vaccinate everyone seeking protection from the rapidly spreading virus.

That includes 1.6 million to 1.7 million Americans considered by federal officials to be at highest risk from the disease, primarily men with HIV or men who have a higher risk of contracting it.