NYC Health Department On Monkeypox Vaccination Strategy And Prioritization Of First Doses From Harlem To Hollis

July 15, 2022

 There are now 461 cases of monkeypox in the city, which is more than 30% of the recorded cases of monkeypox per the CDC.

New York City is the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. and yet does not have sufficient vaccine supply to reach the number of people who need it protect themselves.

Given the rapid increase in cases, the Health Department has decided that providing first doses to offer protection to more at-risk New Yorkers is the best strategy until we receive adequate vaccine supply.

This single dose strategy is consistent with the monkeypox vaccine distribution strategy taken in the UK and Canada.

This decision is based on the available scientific evidence, the accelerating outbreak, the high number of eligible people and demand for vaccine, and extreme shortages of JYNNEOS™ vaccine nationally. In many instances, this means that individuals may not get a second dose by the 28-day interval between doses as is indicated in the FDA prescribing label. Despite the delay, this should not affect the immune response to the second dose.

Approximately 14,500 doses arrived this week from the federal government, and beginning this weekend, the Department will administer these doses at mass vaccination sites and clinics in all five boroughs.

  • 9,200 first dose appointments will be made to the eligible public through the city’s vaccine portal, This includes the 1,000, which were originally reserved for second doses.
  • 4,000 additional doses will be made available through referrals from community partner organizations serving highest-risk patients.
  • The remaining doses are being reserved for contacts of known cases identified through Health Department contact tracing.

We will continue to advocate for more supply. We are grateful for the Federal government’s announcement that more vaccine will arrive in NYC next week, but this will still not be enough.

So until there is sufficient supply in the city, all vaccine doses will be treated as first doses, and we will only begin scheduling second dose appointments once we have enough vaccine to do so.

The Department will communicate to people who have received first doses about when second doses are available and how to receive them.

New Yorkers can sign up for text notifications to receive alerts about monkeypox in NYC, including appointment releases, by texting MONKEYPOX to 692692 or MONKEYPOXESP for alerts in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply.

In addition to vaccine, prevention measures offer protection.

These include avoiding close physical contact if sick, especially if there is a new or unexpected rash or sore. For those who choose to have sex while sick, it is best to avoid kissing and another face-to-face contact.

Also, sores should be covered with clothing or sealed bandages.

This may help reduce — but not eliminate — the risk of transmission. Cleaning hands, sex toys, and bedding before and after sex or other intimate activities is advised.

When making plans, New Yorkers should consider the level of risk.

Having sex or another intimate contact with multiple or anonymous people (such as those met through social media, dating apps, or at parties) can increase risk of exposure.

For recent data, guidance and information about monkeypox, see the Health Department’s monkeypox webpage.

The city will announce its distribution plans for the additional doses scheduled to arrive next week as details are finalized.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Adapted

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