New York begins monkeypox vaccination, but walk-in demand exceeds capacity

Vaccines are administered at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic.

Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

New York City began offering monkeypox vaccination to at-risk groups authorities scramble to contain a global outbreak.

But demand was so high that within hours of the program’s launch, the city had to cancel the application of walk-ins and scheduled tours are already booked through early next week.

Unlike in the early days of Covid, when there was no effective treatment, there are already multiple vaccines that work against the virus. orthopoxvirus which causes monkeypox.

Some 30 people have tested positive for the virus in the city since the beginning of May, almost all of them “men who have sex with men,” and the number of cases is up 60% in the last week alone. Altogether, the city of New York accounts for more than 20% of all diagnosed cases nationwide.

The move to offer the vaccine follows similar efforts in cities like Montreal and Toronto.

The Department of Health announced Thursday the opening of a temporary clinic to administer the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine to eligible individuals who may have recently been exposed to monkeypox, the city announced.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said anxiety, particularly among sexually active gay and bisexual men, prompted the city’s decision to make vaccines available.

Where to Get the Monkeypox Vaccine in NYC

The shots will be given at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic, 303 Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. The clinic will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm onwards.

But as of 2 p.m. Thursday, just three hours after opening its doors, the city said no more walk-ins would be seen and all appointments were filled through Monday. ABC News 4 counted more than 100 people lining up outside the clinic at the time.

One person in line to get vaccinated told the outlet that “many appointments were gone about 10 minutes before they were available online.”

The health department advised people to check back on Sunday for more appointments next week.

“We are in discussions with the CDC for more doses and are looking into how we can increase our capacity citywide,” the health department said Thursday.

For his part, Mark Levine, president of the Borough of Manhattan, tweeted that the city had only been allocated about 1,000 doses of the vaccine from the national stockpile.

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