The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that local, state, and territorial health departments, as well as tribal governments and local non-governmental organizations, can partner together and begin submitting requests to access monkeypox vaccine through the recently announced Monkeypox Vaccine Equity Pilot Program. This new pilot program is intended to reach populations that may face barriers to monkeypox vaccination, which may include differences in language, location of vaccination sites, vaccine hesitancy, mistrust of government, lack of access to on-line scheduling technology, accessibility/disability issues, immigration status, and stigma.
“We have a responsibility to address inequities that have been highlighted by this outbreak, and this program will help make a difference,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., M.P.H. “This outbreak is affecting members of the gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men community at an unequal rate, and it has disproportionately affected the Black and Hispanic communities. Distributing monkeypox vaccines in a way that addresses and reduces these disparities is the goal of this program and is a high priority for CDC and our public health partners.”
Up to 50,000 doses of JYNNEOS vaccine have been allocated for the Monkeypox Vaccine Equity Pilot program. Successful proposals will demonstrate new, innovative ways to reach populations that are most affected by monkeypox based on local or national data. Projects should prioritize groups:
- with risk factors that increase their chances of getting or spreading monkeypox,
- who are over-represented among monkeypox cases and less likely to be vaccinated, and
- whose barriers to vaccination may be addressed by the activities proposed.
Special consideration will be given to projects addressing disparities among Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people who face barriers in accessing vaccines. Examples include pop-ups and other events associated with community-based organizations (CBOs) or clinics that work with MSM and transgender people, especially those who are Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino, who are not reached by current allocations or vaccine administration channels
This new pilot, which is in addition to the large event program, seeks to break down barriers and address disparities in communities where differences in monkeypox vaccination have been identified. Together, these two pilots allow the federal government to reach as many people as possible with monkeypox vaccination. If a pilot successfully reaches the intended populations, the jurisdiction will be encouraged to adapt this model for broader implementation with future federally allocated vaccine distributions. This process will allow CDC and its public health partners to determine new, successful methods of delivering care to the communities most in need, which will help alleviate the effects of the current outbreak and potentially develop repeatable methods that can be used to avoid these inequities in the future as well.
Local health departments and organizations interested in applying should contact their state or territorial health departments or tribal governments.