NYC clinic offering monkeypox vaccine to gay and bi men forced to close due to overwhelming demand
New York City officials have come under fire for a botched rollout of cashpox vaccines for high-risk gay and bisexual men just two days before Pride — fearing the festivities for the annual event will spark a spate of cases.
Thirty cases of the rash-causing virus have already been reported in the Big Apple, almost all of them among men who have sex with men.
In an effort to contain cases, the city’s health ministry began rolling out vaccines at a walk-in center for gay or bisexual men who had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks. But after a line of more than 100 people formed within hours, the city was forced to suspend the offer.
Critics say the jab should have been rolled out sooner, as even the lucky few who got a shot on Thursday won’t be fully protected from monkey pox for at least two weeks — too late for this weekend’s festivities.
A citizen spoke to CBS on Thursday, expressing fears about a possible explosion of business over the weekend.
“I think a lot of gay men in New York have watched it more closely than our straight counterparts,” he said.
“I think a lot of us have heard stories about a friend of a friend who got monkey pox – and felt like we weren’t getting the vaccine now, especially now that we’re going to see so many friends this weekend with pride, that we would eventually get monkey pox. ‘
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The decision saw hundreds of gay and bisexual New Yorkers who met city ordinances rejected for the shot, fearing a possible explosion of cases during Pride celebrations
Demand for the jab soon outpaced the city’s supply, forcing officials to cancel the program within hours of its launch.
“Starting today, we are offering vaccination to eligible New Yorkers who may have been exposed to monkeypox,” the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene wrote just after noon.
However, demand quickly outstripped the city’s supply, forcing officials to cancel the program within hours of its launch.
At 1:57 am, the agency wrote: “Due to high demand, we are no longer able to accommodate walk-ins today. Come back Sunday for additional appointments. †
It added that all appointments for a first dose of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine were fulfilled through Monday.
The decision saw out hundreds of New Yorkers who met city regulations for the shot — gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men “18 years of age or older and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners” in the past 14 days.
The decision left hundreds of New Yorkers rejecting gay and bisexual residents of the Big Apple
The Monkeypox vaccinations will be administered at the clinic on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday between 11am and 7pm.
Only 1,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine were in the city’s stockpile ahead of the seemingly impromptu rollout, but city officials said they are working with the CDC to ask for more from the federal government.
They did not disclose how they determine whether patients have sex with men or have had multiple sexual partners, although this is likely done through a questionnaire.
With the Jynneous vaccine – which uses a weakened virus – patients receive two injections 28 days apart.
US steps up monkey pox testing to speed up diagnosis
The Biden administration has begun sending monkey pox tests to commercial labs in an effort to speed up the diagnosis of suspected infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) send swabs to labs including Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.
It said this would greatly increase the country’s capacity to test for monkeypox.
Previously, testing was largely limited to public health labs, which together have a capacity of about 8,000 tests per week.
“All Americans should be concerned about monkey pox cases,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
“Fortunately, we now have the resources to fight and treat cases in America.
“By drastically expanding the number of test locations across the country, we are making it possible for everyone who needs to be tested.”
It’s designed to fight smallpox, but health officials say it could also work against monkeypox because the two viruses are similar.
After running out of slots today, the ministry said: “We hope to make more appointments available soon.
“We are in talks with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get more doses and explore how to increase our capacity citywide.”
New York is one of the first cities in America to start rolling out monkeypox vaccines on a larger scale.
Along with others, including San Francisco, it had already offered the shots to close contacts of confirmed cases of monkeypox.
Announcing the rollout today, Mayor Eric Adams said, “As I’ve been saying from day one, we’re prepared, not panicked, and this monkeypox vaccination site is another critical tool in keeping New Yorkers healthy.
“Starting today, eligible New Yorkers who may have been exposed to monkeypox can now get vaccinated to stay safe and slow the spread.”
America has now noticed a total of 173 cases of the virus in nearly half of its states nationwide.
However, experts fear that many more cases are currently going undetected, because they have been mistaken for other diseases or due to a lack of testing.
New York City has the largest outbreak of any city in the entire country.
At the state level, California has the largest outbreak with 48 cases, followed by New York state and Illinois with 19.
The Biden administration announced today that it will be rolling out swabs for the disease to commercial labs in an effort to accelerate diagnosis and control measures.
It comes as America gears up for more Pride celebrations in major cities this weekend.
Chicago health officials have said they will place a “special emphasis” on Pride in their warnings this weekend, and have printed flyers to be handed out at events to protect yourself from monkey pox.
San Francisco has also said it will make “public service announcements” during Pride in the city — expected to draw more than 500,000 people — to remind people to stay safe.
Most people who get monkey pox suffer from a mild infection that clears up within four weeks.
But statistics suggest that about one in 100 people who are infected will develop a serious illness that results in death.
The disease is mainly transmitted through physical contact with infectious skin lesions, or by touching clothing and bedding that have come into contact with a patient.
In rare cases, it can also be transmitted through “continuous” face-to-face contact, the CDC says.
Infected people tend to experience a rash around the genital and anal areas as the first symptom, before the rash spreads to the rest of the body. They may also develop flu-like symptoms.