New York City scrambles to fix monkeypox vaccination appointment problems

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Saturday, July 16, 2022
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New York City released thousands of new appointments Friday for people at high risk of getting monkeypox, amid a rocky rollout that has seen glitch after glitch delay the process.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City released thousands of new appointments Friday for people at high risk of getting monkeypox, amid a rocky rollout that has seen glitch after glitch delay the process.

The multiple websites the city has been using for vaccinations have proven unreliable, leaving people with error messages.

Now, they are switching to the city's own website, the same platform used for COVID vaccination appointments.

"We own it," Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said. "Those mistakes shouldn't happen. And so we're working to correct those and do better for New Yorkers in the future."

Starting Friday at 6 p.m., the city is releasing 8200 first-dose appointment timeslots.

"Monkeypox vaccine appointments will go live at http://vax4nyc.nyc.gov/monkeypox tomorrow at 6 p.m.," the city said in a statement. "The website is not yet live. Check for all updates: http://nyc.gov/monkeypox; Sign up for alerts: text MONKEYPOX to 692-692.

Another 4,000 doses will be reserved for doctors to make referrals for their patients, and officials are hoping this time the site won't crash this time.

"It is infuriating that now, almost two years after we confronted similar challenges with our COVID vaccination rollout, we are once again struggling to get this right," Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said.

The official monkeypox case count continues to grow, with 490 cases now reported across New York State.

Almost all of them, 461, are in New York City, but Westchester County is now up to 16 confirmed cases, while Nassau and Suffolk counties are reporting 4 and 3 confirmed cases, respectively.

Additionally, there is one case each in Rockland, Sullivan, Chemung, Erie, St. Lawrence and Monroe counties.

Vaccination Sites

In addition to the existing monkeypox vaccine clinics located at the Department's Chelsea, Central Harlem, and Corona Sexual Health Clinic sites, the city said a new clinic will open at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt site (165 Vanderbilt Avenue on Staten Island).

On Sunday 7/15, three mass vaccinations sites will open for appointments at:

  • Aviation High School (45-30 36th Street in Queens)
  • Bushwick Education (440 Irving Avenue in Brooklyn)
  • Bronx High School of Science (75 W 205th Street in the Bronx)
  • Anyone can get and spread monkeypox, though the current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, so this community is currently at greater risk of exposure.

    If you have a new or unexpected rash or other symptoms of monkeypox, contact a health care provider.

    Monkeypox is harder to contract than COVID, as it requires close contact or the sharing of bodily fluid.

    The symptoms of the rare virus include fever and rash, muscle aches, and chills.

    Worldwide, monkeypox is deadly in between 3% to 6% of cases, though the death rate is less than 1% in areas with quality healthcare.

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