The nation’s top health officials believed they had finally hit upon a solution to quell weeks of public criticism about the straggling government response to the monkeypox outbreak spreading across the country this summer.
They would stretch the nation’s limited supply of the only FDA-approved vaccine for monkeypox by splitting doses to cover five times as many people — an admission, after repeated reassurances by top government officials, that the United States did not have enough shots for every at-risk American, after all.
But after Health and Human Services (HHS) officials announced their proposal on Aug. 4, Paul Chaplin, chief executive of Bavarian Nordic, the vaccine’s manufacturer, called a senior U.S. health official and accused the Biden administration of breaching its contracts with his company by planning to use the doses in an unapproved manner. Even worse, said two people with knowledge of the episode, Chaplin threatened to cancel all future vaccine orders from the United States, throwing into doubt the administration’s entire monkeypox strategy.
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