The Department of Health is launching its first permanent monkeypox vaccine sites in the Bronx and Staten Island as cases continue to tick up throughout New York City.
The sites, at the Bronx’s Lincoln Hospital and Staten Island’s Gotham Health, Vanderbilt, were set to start accepting vaccine appointments at 6 p.m. Friday via the department’s online vaccine portal.
“The Health Department is moving quickly to distribute as many vaccine doses as we can in the most equitable way possible,” said Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan. “With cases rising, it’s clear that is a great need for more vaccine in New York City, and we are working with our federal partners to obtain more doses.”
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson applauded the launch of the new site in her borough and pledged to take steps to do outreach about the matter to the LGBTQ community.
[ EXPLAINER: What is monkeypox and should New Yorkers be worried? ]
“Having a permanent vaccination site is an important first step, but we know there is more work to be done to ensure these vaccines are distributed equitably and to our most at-risk residents,” Gibson told the Daily News.
Prior to Friday, the Health Department was only operating monkeypox vaccine sites in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
The new sites are coming online on the heels of the city receiving 25,963 doses of monkeypox from the federal government Thursday.
The city’s monkeypox response has been hampered by severe vaccine supply shortages, even as the five boroughs are seeing the highest virus caseload in the country.
[ Mayor Adams acknowledges need for more NYC monkeypox vaccine sites ]
As of Thursday, 778 cases of the virus had been confirmed in the city, according to Health Department data. The actual caseload is likely higher due to a short availability of testing.
The virus, which is currently spreading almost only among men who have sex with men, causes blister-like rashes, fever and other symptoms.
The disease is less transmissible than COVID-19, and no monkeypox deaths have been reported in the U.S. since the virus began spreading this spring. Still, public health experts are concerned about the current outbreak and have urged the federal government to put a sharper focus on allocating more vaccine doses.
With Graham Rayman