New York City reported its biggest increase yet in suspected monkeypox cases on Friday, a day after a single clinic in Manhattan opened to distribute a vaccine.
The city began offering the monkeypox vaccination to at-risk groups on Thursday, but demand was so high that within hours of the program’s launch, the city had to discontinue walk-in appointments. The scheduled appointments have already been made until the beginning of next week.
Unlike in the early days of COVID, when there was no effective treatment, there are already several vaccines that work against the orthopoxvirus that causes the disease. Supply, however, is the issue.
At least 39 people have tested positive for the virus in the city since early May, almost all of them men who have sex with men, and the number of cases has risen 30% since the health department’s report on Thursday.
In total, New York City accounts for more than 20% of all diagnosed cases nationwide.
The Department of Health on Thursday announced the opening of a temporary clinic to administer the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine to eligible people who may have recently been exposed to monkeypox, the city said. NYC Health Commissioner Dr Ashwin Vasan said anxiety, particularly among sexually active gay and bisexual men, prompted the city to decide to make vaccines available.
Vaccines will be administered at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic (303 Ninth Avenue in Manhattan). The clinic will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the future.
But as of 2 p.m. Thursday, just three hours after opening its doors, the city said there would be no more walk-in appointments and all appointments were filled until see you Monday. News 4 counted more than 100 people lining up outside the clinic at the time.
A person queuing to get vaccinated said many appointments disappeared about 10 minutes after they went live.
The Department of Health has advised people to check back on Sunday for more appointments next week.
“We are in discussions with the CDC to obtain more doses and are exploring how we can increase our capacity citywide,” the health department said.
Mark Levine, the Manhattan Borough President, tweeted that the city had only received about 1,000 doses of the vaccine from the national stockpile.
How do you catch monkeypox?
The CDC issued new guidelines on monkeypox last week as the number of suspected cases nationwide soared, marking the largest outbreak of monkeypox on record in America, which has generally been confined to d other continents.
While the The CDC says the risk to the general public remains low, people are urged to avoid close contact with sick people, including those with skin or genital lesions, as well as sick or dead animals. Anyone with symptoms, such as a rash or unexplained sores, should contact their healthcare professional for advice.
It is also advisable to avoid eating meat from wild game or using products (such as creams, powders or lotions) from wild African animals.
What is monkey pox?
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, when outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research – hence its name. (What you need to know about monkeypox.)
The first case in a human was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which still has the majority of infections. Other African countries where it has been found: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
Human monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than smallpox symptoms, the CDC says. It presents as a flu-like illness with swollen lymph nodes and a rash on the face and body.
Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. Monkeypox also causes swelling of the lymph nodes, which smallpox does not. The incubation period is usually 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
The CDC urges healthcare providers in the US to be mindful of patients with rashes compatible with monkeypoxwhether they have traveled or have specific monkeypox risks. See more information on the travel advisory here.