NEW YORK (PIX11) — The demand for the monkeypox vaccine in New York City is so high, walk-in appointments were filled up Thursday, the first day the shot was offered. The New York City Department of Health said currently appointments are filled through Monday, but that additional appointments could be offered starting Sunday.
The vaccine site was opened at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic. The temporary clinic will administer the two-dose vaccine to people who “may have had a recent exposure to monkeypox.” The clinic is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said the city was only given 1,000 doses of the vaccine — “far, far too little.”
In a statement, the New York City Department of Health said they are “in talks with the CDC to obtain more doses.”
Hale McSharry managed to snag an appointment at the clinic.
“If I had a nickel for every time I had to go through the stress of finding a vaccine for an illness I was afraid of getting, I’d have two nickels,” he said. “‘I’d love to get it over with as soon as possible and hopefully nip it in the bud.”
Another man, Richard Chao, wasn’t as lucky. He said he would return and try for a walk-in appointment Friday — adding a worker there told him to show up at least an hour early.
According to the health department, anyone can get and spread monkeypox — however, most cases identified in the current outbreak are among “men who have sex with men.” The vaccine clinic expands eligibility to men — both cisgender or transgender — who are 18 and older and have had multiple or anonymous male sex partners in the last 14 days.
“While this is an important step, it’s equally critical to remember that identity is not a risk factor, and we must all be vigilant not to stigmatize communities that may be disproportionately impacted,” said Peter Meacher, Chief Medical Officer at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. “During Pride month in New York, it is especially important to acknowledge the long history and impact of stigmatization, and not to repeat the mistakes of our past.”
The monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding, and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed in prolonged close contact. Transmission can occur during sex or other close physical contact.