New York City opens more monkeypox vaccination appointments today

Derick Waller Image
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
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Derick Waller reports the city will release 1,250 appointment time slots at its clinics in Chelsea, Harlem and Corona, Queens.

CHELSEA, New York City (WABC) -- More New York City residents will have a chance to sign up for a monkeypox vaccine Tuesday.

Monkeypox vaccine appointments have been booking as quickly as they've been made available.

On Tuesday, the city released 1,250 appointment time slots at its clinics in Chelsea, Harlem and Corona, Queens.

Another 1,250 will be set aside for direct referrals from doctors of high-risk patients.

The city is expecting to receive another 14,500 doses later this week.

It comes as monkeypox vaccine clinics open this week in Suffolk County as well, including one in Cherry Grove, Fire Island and another in the Fire Island Pines.

But health experts say the number of doses the state is getting is still not enough.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett told a virtual monkeypox Town Hall meeting audience Monday night that New York leads the nation in new infections.

"We've been getting something like 14 and 15 percent of the national vaccine allocation, and as the most recent numbers that (NYC Health Commissioner) Dr. Vasan has quoted, puts us at 27% of the national case rate," she said.

And as the doses do arrive, there have been long lines at the pop-up clinics in Chelsea and Harlem for the small number of people fortunate enough to get an appointment.

"I'm in a small group of people that were really lucky and able to get one," Carson Rammelt told Eyewitness News. "But I know I'm in a group chat with friends, and we've all checked in with each other: 'Were you able to get one?' And everyone is like, 'Nope, nope, nope, nope.'"

Of the 238 confirmed monkeypox cases in New York State, almost all - 223 - are in the city.

The vast majority are in Manhattan, and a third of cases are in just two LGBTQIA+ neighborhoods: Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen.

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease. Anyone can get it.

But right now it's spreading primarily among men who have sex with other men, causing a painful rash and flu-like symptoms that may not show up for several weeks after exposure.

At least one resident is worried the current intense focus on gay men could backfire.

"I think it's not being treated as it should be," said Nico Kiray as he waited in line for a vaccine in Chelsea. "It's being treated as an STD among gay men instead of something that could really infect the entire public."

"Did we get everything perfectly? No," said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. "But we are definitely trying to meet this with the urgency it needs, and we are not letting the fear of stigmatizing people slow us in our commitment."

If you want to know more about how to book an appointment in the city, visit nyc.gov/health/monkeypox.

If you want updates on the vaccine texted directly to you, you can text "monkeypox" to 692692.

And in Suffolk County, anyone who is considered high risk can make an appointment to get vaccinated through the county's website.

MORE NEWS: NYC health officials urge return to indoor masking

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