NYC Health + Hospitals announced today that, in coordination with the NYC Health Department, public hospitals and mobile vaccination clinics administered over 15,000 doses.
These were doses of the monkeypox (MPV) vaccine, approximately 10% of the nearly 150,000 MPV first and second doses administered citywide. Working with more than 50 community partners, the mobile MPV vaccine program administered over 3,300 vaccinations at over 70 unique sites established at locations that prioritize access and equity for New Yorkers most at risk of MPV exposure. Mobile clinics established at LGBTQIA+-centered events, including parties with close physical or sexual contact and high risk of MPV transmission, vaccinated as many as 40 to 60% of event attendees.
“We have learned many lessons through the pandemic that we have been incorporating and deploying in our healthcare delivery system — one of the foremost lessons being that we must be responsive in real-time,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Health + Hospitals’ mobile units gave us that capability when MPV came to NYC. We deployed vaccines 24/7, where and when people needed them. Thank you to NYC Health + Hospitals, to DOHMH, to all our frontline healthcare workers and to our partners in the community for helping reach this milestone.”
“The City responded to MPV by providing the vaccine in our trusted NYC Health + Hospitals’ clinics, along with mobile units that grounded our approach in equity by bringing the vaccine to all New Yorkers without exception,” said Ted Long, MD, MHS, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care, and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “Our mobile MPV vaccination effort, guided by the dedicated leadership and trusted experience of our LGBTQIA+ community advocates and partners, pushed the envelope of where people can effectively receive the sexual health resources they need, removing barriers to ensure that those most at risk could receive the full protection of the vaccine. Thank you to all the frontline healthcare workers, engagement teams, and community partners who worked so tirelessly to keep their fellow New Yorkers safe.”
“When MPV began spreading in New York City, Health + Hospitals mobilized to provide vaccinations as efficiently and conveniently as possible and prioritize outreach to New Yorkers most at risk of exposure,” said Andrew B. Wallach, MD, FACP, Ambulatory Care Chief Medical Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Our community vaccine hubs and mobile vaccine clinics have met people where they are, as they are, ensuring those who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities receive the culturally responsive, gender-affirming care they deserve. We are proud to have stepped up to play a critical role in the City’s successful MPV vaccination effort, and will continue to offer vaccinations, testing, and treatment for MPV patients until this virus is a thing of the past.”
“The City’s MPV vaccination campaign continues doing the hard work of going where vaccination is needed most in partnership with the affected community,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “It is a perfect partnership: with public health bringing our community and healthcare systems together to deliver preventive resources in a timely and effective and acceptable manner for people who need it most. While much of the most effective work happens outside the proverbial limelight, we cannot express sufficient gratitude to the individuals, groups and organizations that lent their resources to ensure that we are reaching New Yorkers.”
The City has, to date, administered more than 148,000 first and second doses of MPV vaccine and daily cases have fallen from more than 70 per day in July to fewer than three per day in early November. NYC Health + Hospitals began administering MPV vaccinations by appointment at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt on July 15, 2022. In August, the health system opened three additional mass vaccination sites at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur.
NYC Health + Hospitals began welcoming walk-in vaccinations for eligible patients in early September. To date, the health system has administered approximately 11,000 first doses and 1,400-second doses of the MPV vaccine tested approximately 3,000 patients and treated nearly 250 people in its outpatient, inpatient, and emergency departments facilities.
On November 14, following a prolonged period of low MPV transmission, NYC Health + Hospitals transitioned from mass and mobile vaccination sites to begin providing vaccinations to patients at its 11 acute ambulatory clinics and five PRIDE Health Centers (co-located at Metropolitan, Bellevue, Lincoln, Woodhull, Jacobi hospitals). An additional site launched on November 14 at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt.
The mobile MPV vaccine program launched in early August to deploy mobile vaccination units in consultation with partners working with the LGBTQIA+ community, including pride and wellness centers, health clinics, and youth and adult shelters. In collaboration with the NYC Health Department’s sexual health team, community experts, event hosts, and participants, the mobile MPV vaccination program has administered over 2,500 first doses and 750-second doses of the MPV vaccine. Mobile vaccine units deployed over 400 cumulative clinic days at 73 unique sites across the city. Community-guided mobile clinics have ensured MPV vaccines are available at trusted, accessible locations for New Yorkers most at risk of MPV exposure and at sites that welcome sex workers and patients with HIV who may be discriminated against or stigmatized when seeking care.
“Our program has opened new doors for thousands of New Yorkers seeking the protection of vaccines, welcoming people in comfortable spaces and providing access in environments where folks are most at risk of infection,” said Katya Murphy, Director of Implementation, Ambulatory Care Operations at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Working hand in hand with our LGBTQIA+ community partners, we have been able to extend culturally sensitive, compassionate care beyond the bounds of traditional health care settings to reach New Yorkers who too often have not been able to access the care they need. I want to thank our community and event partners for their trust, guidance, and advocacy — together we have created a model for more effective, less stigmatized care.”
The mobile MPV vaccine program also partnered with event party hosts and venue owners to provide on-site vaccinations at queer events, including nightlife events where attendees have close physical or sexual contact and a higher risk of MPV transmission. At some nightlife events, including sex parties, as many as 40 to 60% of attendees received vaccinations. In addition, over 70% of doses administered at high-risk events were second doses, building high immunity among New Yorkers at greatest risk of MPV infection.
“Meeting people where they are is too often a catchphrase in public health,” said Joseph Osmundson, MPV Mobile Vaccination Community Liaison and Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University. “Using vaccine vans at queer venues, we helped get thousands of New Yorkers vaccinated against MPV. This success belongs first to the queer community and the nightlife and event hosts we partnered with. It was their work and commitment to the health of their community that helped beat back MPV, including voluntarily closing sex parties for weeks. We showed that sexually transmitted diseases can be dealt with openly, without stigma, and that caring for one another is sexy!”
By building trusted relationships with event party hosts and venue owners, including those who host events for queer people of color, the mobile MPV vaccine program has helped make MPV vaccine and health resources available to those underserved by other healthcare systems and address racial disparities in vaccine access.
In addition to Health + Hospitals’ mobile vaccination effort, the NYC Health Department’s community outreach teams participated in more than 570 events since June, engaged with over 48,000 people to address and share information about MPV and scheduled hundreds of vaccine appointments for people during outreach. Partnerships have included outreach at LGBTIA+ bars, parties, and community health fairs and events as well as numerous other events.
New Yorkers who received their first vaccine doses are strongly advised to get their second doses 28 days after their first. Walk-in appointments are available. To find a location where the vaccine is available go to the NYC Vaccine Finder.
New Yorkers seeking care for suspected MPV should call their healthcare provider immediately. For those who do not have one, they can call 311 to get connected to an NYC Health + Hospitals location or to access NYC Health + Hospital’s Virtual ExpressCare. New Yorkers can also visit the NYC Health Map to find a nearby provider. Care is available in New York City regardless of immigration status, insurance coverage, or ability to pay.
For more information about MPV, please visit the Health Department’s MPV Information Page.
“Ensuring equitable access to MPV vaccines in NYC was, and still is, our priority,” said Gustavo Morales, Director of Access to Care, Oasis Community Pride Center. “Agencies like ours are key in building trust & ensuring access to the community. It has been an honor to partner with NYC Health + Hospitals in making mobile vaccination clinics available to provide the Latinx community and other communities of color access to the MPV vaccine in a safe space, in their own language and from people that look like them.”“When NYC Health + Hospitals approached Housing Works about hosting MPV vaccine clinics at our sites in Brooklyn we were on board immediately,” said Michael Clarke, Senior Vice President for Programs at Housing Works. “Similar to what we saw during the peak of COVID-19, black and brown communities, low-income communities, and people living with chronic illnesses such as HIV are experiencing disproportionately higher rates of negative health outcomes resulting from MPV infections. We remain committed to providing MPV outreach, education and treatment assistance that specifically targets the highest risk and most vulnerable communities in New York City.”
“It’s incredible how NYC acted quickly and took control of the MPV outbreak,” said Nathaly Rubio-Torio, LMSW, CEO of Voces Latinas. “Voces Latinas couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve been able to accomplish together with our partners at NYC Health + Hospitals reducing the number of MPV infections and getting the vaccine to neighborhoods such as Western Queens where immigrant Latinx reside. I want to applaud our outreach team, our Promotoras, and the amazing partners at Health + Hospitals who did the grassroots work so desperately needed to reach some of the most vulnerable communities and provide the vaccine. From this outreach, we were also able to test for HIV/STIs, accompany and connect folks to Elmhurst Hospital and neighborhood FQHCs immediately. The long hours, and tireless outreach is so appreciated.”
“We’ve been grateful for the opportunity to be able to get dozens of shots in arms for folks and let people know about the multitude of services that we have for them here at the Pride Center in the process,” said Frank Popper, Education and Outreach Manager, Pride Center of Staten Island. “Beyond our ability to vaccinate, we will continue to refer/ connect folks with resources and spread awareness about MPV itself. This virus has had a direct, adverse effect on the communities that we serve and represent, and so our work with an outbreak that has been contained (for now!) goes beyond the rampant spread of the virus. Stay safe and up to date with information about MPV and vaccine eligibility, as the guidelines will continue to shift!”
“I’m grateful for the relationship that GBU has developed over the past few months with NYC Health + Hospitals and the NYC Health Department,” said Chris Hawke, Founder and Promoter of GBU Events. “The young men who attend GBU events and I were so impressed to find Health + Hospitals to be so sensitive to and accepting of our needs. Younger gay guys attending parties like ours are often not out or may not feel comfortable with doctors and clinics who don’t understand their ‘ sex-positive’ lifestyle. Unfortunately, some still feel a stigma about attending sex-friendly events, so it’s outreach like this that really makes a difference. The City sending vans with professional, non-judgmental staff to administer MPV vaccines on our premises was critical to making our events safer, and by extension the NYC community at large. Our subset of the gay community has a robust sex life. Having mobile health units on site was key for us to be protected while doing it in a way that made us feel comfortable and supported.”
NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal healthcare system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible.
Photo credit: NYC Health + Hospitals established mobile community clinics to provide culturally-sensitive care at locations accessible to and comfortable for communities most at risk of MPV exposure.