What We’re Reading: Expanding Monkeypox Vaccine Access; Annual COVID-19 Boosters; Juul to Pay in Teen Marketing Settlement

Under a new contract with AmerisourceBergen Corp, HHS will expand access to monkeypox vaccines and treatments; as President Jow Biden encouraged Americans to receive their COVID-19 boosters this fall, the White House signaled toward annual COVID-19 boosters; Juul has reached a settlement with 37 states and Puerto Rico regarding the company’s marketing to teens.

Expanding Access to Monkeypox Vaccines, Drugs Under New Contract

HHS announced it will expand the number of monkeypox vaccine and treatment distribution locations in the United States through a new contract with AmerisourceBergen Corp, Reuters reported. The $20 million contract allows HHS to send up to 2500 shipments of frozen Jynneos vaccine doses per week and ship SIGA Technologies’ monkeypox treatment TPOXX to up to 2500 locations. Prior to the settling of this contract, monkeypox vaccines from the Strategic National Stockpile had only been shipping to about 5 locations per state.

White House Signals Plans for Annual COVID-19 Boosters

The White House said in a briefing Tuesday most Americans may only need an annual COVID-19 booster and to view it as an annual vaccine, similar to the annual flu shot, STAT News reported. President Joe Biden encouraged all Americans 12 years and older who are vaccinated to get the COVID-19 booster this fall, marking a year since the FDA first authorized booster doses for higher-risk populations in fall 2021. Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical advisor to the president, added the country will likely follow a COVID-19 vaccination cadence similar to that of the annual flu vaccine, with vaccines updated based on the circulating strains for most of the population at the time.

Juul to Pay $439 Million to Several States in Teen Marketing Settlement

Juul has agreed to pay $438.5 million in a settlement with 33 states and 1 US territory over its marketing to teens, with millions of dollars of the settlement money being sent to programs aimed at reducing tobacco use. The settlement also requires the e-cigarette company to stop marketing to youths, which included advertisements on public transit and billboards, advertisements depicting anyone aged younger than 35, and paid influencers. According to William Tong, Connecticut attorney general, Juul’s marketing campaigns have created a new generation of people struggling with nicotine addiction by targeting their products and advertisements to younger people and misleading consumers about the nicotine content of the e-cigarettes. The Washington Post reported that Juul has now reached settlements with 37 states and Puerto Rico.