The federal government will send thousands of additional monkeypox vaccines to New York City amid mounting criticism over its response to the outbreak.
The city is set to receive 25,963 doses as part of its next monkeypox vaccine allocation, its health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, said Tuesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the new batch of vaccines would arrive. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Vasan tweeted, “will have more information on distribution and when appointments will be made available in the coming days, after [the vaccines have] been delivered to the city.”
What You Need To Know
- The city is set to receive 25,963 doses as part of its next monkeypox vaccine allocation, the health commissioner said Tuesday
- It wasn’t immediately clear when the new batch of vaccines would arrive or when the next vaccine appointment sign-up would take place
- As of Tuesday, 639 people in the city had tested positive for presumed monkeypox, with “many more” undiagnosed cases "likely," the health department said
“We appreciate the additional vaccines from the federal government and continue to push for more doses to be allocated to NYC, which is the current epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak in the U.S.,” he wrote.
New York City’s presumed monkeypox count surpassed 600 on Monday.
As of Tuesday, 639 people in the city had tested positive for presumed monkeypox — and “many more” undiagnosed cases were “likely,” according to the health department.
The city last opened up monkeypox vaccine appointment slots on Friday, following an initial rollout of doses marked by issues with its online vaccine portal. Three pop-up up mass vaccination sites — one in the Bronx, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn — administered thousands of first doses on Sunday.
Vasan’s announcement Tuesday came a day after several local elected officials called on the federal government to send more vaccines to the city.
Rep. Ritchie Torres, whose congressional district includes parts of the Bronx, put out a news release asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate what he called the federal government’s “failed” response to this year’s outbreak.
“The U.S. has a long and ugly history of ignoring the public health needs of the LGBTQ community. For many in the community, history is repeating itself,” Torres said in a statement. “Instead of acting with a sense of urgency, both the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the FDA moved at a bureaucratic pace, enabling the virus to spread uncontrollably for two months.”
All five borough presidents, meanwhile, sent a letter to the CDC denouncing the number of vaccines the city had received thus far as “woefully inadequate” amid high demand.
The CDC notes on its website that there is “currently a limited supply” of the JYNNEOS vaccine, which the federal government has been shipping out as part of its efforts to combat the outbreak.
At a news conference on Tuesday, held prior to Vasan’s announcement, Mayor Eric Adams said the city had been “fighting to get our share” of available monkeypox vaccines.
The mayor also addressed concerns about the accessibility of the city's vaccination sites, particularly the mass vaccination site that temporarily opened at the Bronx High School of Science on Sunday.
"I will speak with [Vasan], ‘cause we have to have accessibility,” Adams said. “I know we are big on making sure that it’s accessible.”