NEW YORK (PIX11) — As New York City health officials work to improve access to the monkeypox vaccine, new information shared by the Department of Health shows a racial disparity.
Black New Yorkers are 31% of the population at risk of contracting monkeypox, however, they have only received 12% of the vaccine doses administered so far.
“It made me think that our city, our state, our country hadn’t learned lessons that we should have learned from the COVID-19 disparities,” said Jawanza James Williams, the director of organizing with VOCAL-NY.
“The digital means by which the vaccine appointments were being distributed was very difficult for people to access,” Williams said.
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said during an interview with PIX11 News, “While this information is alarming, it’s disappointing, it reenergizes me to do even better because I refuse to accept this as normal, as the end.”
Data from the heath department also exposed disparities between boroughs. Bronx residents make up 10% of the at-risk population but only received 5.3% of the vaccine doses administered.
The city has now pledged to spend $5 million to raise vaccine awareness, with Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan saying in a statement, “We remain committed to making sure that those at highest risk of exposure to monkeypox have urgent and equitable access to vaccine, testing, and treatment.”