New York distributes 8,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine


New York distributes 8,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine

New York has become a hotspot for a growing monkeypox outbreak, but as the city prepares to receive thousands of doses of vaccine, it’s unclear how the city will distribute them equitably to those people most at risk from the disease are: sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who have been the focus of the global outbreak.

Last week, a single clinic in Chelsea offered 1,000 doses of the vaccine that the city’s Department of Health had released from its inventory. Hundreds of men showed up as walk-ins, leading the line to new people in just about 90 minutes.

The city only announced the opening of the clinic on a Thursday afternoon 30 minutes beforehand. And by Monday the final shots were being distributed by appointment.

The trial led to criticism that those most connected to the public health world and who have the time to take hours off during a workday got most of the first slots.

As of Thursday, 78 cases of monkeypox had been diagnosed in the city, more than double the number a week ago, the health department said. And nationwide there were 72 cases as of Wednesday, or 20 percent of the country’s total of 351 cases.

But more cans are on the way. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday that the federal government would soon send the state 8,195 additional doses of the monkeypox vaccine, about 6,000 of which would go to New York City.

“In New York state, we have seen a disproportionate number of cases of monkeypox, particularly in our LGBTQ+ communities, which have been hit particularly hard,” Ms. Hochul said in a statement. “I recognize the fear and concern this outbreak has caused, particularly for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers, which is why my team and I will continue to work around the clock to secure as many vaccines as possible for our residents.”

The city has promised to expand access to cans as they get more, but there were no details on the distribution plan as of Thursday afternoon.

“These efforts are just the beginning, and as supply increases, we hope to expand to other parts of the city,” Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the Department of Health, said earlier this week.

He added that the Department of Health chose Manhattan’s Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic as the location for the first doses because it is one of the best-known sexual health clinics in the city, with “a very long history in the community and providing culturally competent.” Serving LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.”

The Department of Health has recommended the monkeypox vaccine for men at high risk of exposure, which they defined as men who have had multiple or anonymous male sexual partners in the past two weeks.

The vaccine allocation, part of a national distribution plan for hundreds of thousands of doses announced by the White House on Tuesday, comes as monkeypox continues to spread and experts are warning of the virus’s rapidly closing window to contain it.

The US Department of Health and Human Services will immediately provide 56,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine called Jynneos and another 240,000 doses in the coming weeks, the White House announced. Another 750,000 cans are expected to be available over the summer and a total of 1.6 million cans are expected to be ready by the end of this year.

“This vaccine currently has some supply restrictions and for this reason the government’s current vaccine strategy is prioritizing making it available to those who need it most,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a press conference.

Federal officials also announced that state health officials could request doses of an older smallpox vaccine called ACAM2000, but it is associated with serious side effects, including death, in immunocompromised people, pregnant women and older adults.

Demand for the vaccine in New York City is expected to exceed initial supply, raising thorny questions about who should have access to it. Officials have urged the federal government to provide as many vaccines as possible. The Jynneos vaccine requires two doses a month apart to be fully effective.

“If you have a large population that wants to protect themselves, I think we need to do everything in our power to enable them to do so,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman, who is pushing for more doses.

In addition to the vaccine, experts have called for increased education and testing campaigns to ensure more people know the symptoms of the virus so they can be screened for it.

For now, monkeypox testing remains centralized in a network of public labs, making it difficult for some healthcare providers to order tests. However, the CDC allows some commercial labs to perform the test, which should make the test more accessible in July.

Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health and a longtime advocate for treatment for HIV/AIDS, warned that the cases picked up by testing are likely “the tip of the iceberg.” He and other experts fear the outbreak could spread to other populations, especially communities like prisons and homeless shelters, if health officials don’t do more soon.

“We have a path between containing this outbreak or allowing it to continue, particularly in the gay community,” he said. “And I think we’re on that path of persisting in the gay community as a new feature of our lives for now.”

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