The city will open up thousands of monkeypox vaccine appointment slots on Friday as it tries to ramp up vaccination efforts amid a bumpy rollout, health officials said Thursday.
Eligible New Yorkers will be able to book first-dose appointments through the city’s monkeypox vaccine portal starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 15, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a press release.
A total of 8,200 appointment slots will open up at that time, accounting for more than half of the approximately 14,500 doses the city received from the federal government earlier this week, the release said.
What You Need To Know
- The city will open up 8,200 monkeypox vaccine appointment slots on Friday, health officials said Thursday
- Eligible New Yorkers will be able to book first-dose appointments through the city’s monkeypox vaccine portal starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 15
- The city received approximately 14,500 doses from the federal government earlier this week, the health department said
- The appointment sign-up announcement comes as the city tries to ramp up vaccination efforts amid a bumpy rollout
All of the slots will be for dates and times within the next two weeks.
“Appointments at this time are for first doses only, and the health department will reach out to those with their first dose when it is time to make their second dose appointment,” the release noted.
An additional 4,000 first doses will be administered “through referrals from community partner organizations serving highest-risk patients,” according to the release.
The health department will set the remainder of the 14,500 doses aside for “contacts of known cases” it has identified through tracing, as well as “potentially for second doses, depending on supply and pending [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance,” the release added.
Three mass vaccination sites — one at Aviation High School in Queens, one at Bushwick Education in Brooklyn and one at the Bronx High School of Science — will administer vaccines this coming Sunday, July 17, the health department said.
New Yorkers will also be able to schedule appointments at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic, the Central Harlem Sexual Health Clinic and the Corona Sexual Health Clinic, as well as at a new clinic opening on Staten Island at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt, the release said.
The appointments that come online Friday will be limited to “gay, bisexual, or other men who have had sex with men and transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary persons ages 18 and older who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days,” due to limited vaccine supply, according to the release.
As of Thursday, 389 people in New York City had tested positive for presumed monkeypox, the health department said.
With cases mounting, New York state on Thursday rolled out a system that will allow New Yorkers to sign up for monkeypox-related alerts, including information about vaccines and cases, by texting “MONKEYPOX” to 81336.
The city’s monkeypox vaccine rollout thus far has been plagued by issues. Last week, the health department apologized for a website “glitch” that made appointments available “prematurely” — an error City Hall said was caused by the company running the online vaccine portal.
The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, addressed the technological issues in an interview with NY1’s Pat Kiernan Thursday morning.
“Obviously we’ve had some technical issues on our side, which we’ve apologized for, but what you can see, really most importantly, is that demand is incredibly high,” Vasan said, adding that supply was “extremely limited, and in no way is it up to what the need is.”
Asked to explain why the city did not have an existing system in place for the rollout, Vasan called it a “fair question.”
“What you’re describing is really a basic public health infrastructure that this entire country has neglected for far too long,” he said. “We really haven’t even gotten out of the pandemic to be able to make those core investments you’re talking about, but the question is reasonable.”
“We built a citywide appointment platform for COVID that is basically running at max supply,” he added. “We needed to create another buildout to complement that, which is what we’re in the process of doing now, to support future appointments for monkeypox vaccine.”
“I think the expectation for New Yorkers to have that is a reasonable one, and as I said, you know, we apologize for the technical glitches through our vendors over the last couple of weeks — those shouldn’t happen,” he went on to say. “But you know, we’re working to build that stable appointment infrastructure that New Yorkers have come to expect with COVID-19.”