With monkeypox vaccine appointments booked solid, NYC health officials working on greater availability

NEW YORK — While New York City’s health department has opened a pair of temporary monkeypox vaccine sites, getting an appointment is still a challenge. 

The city received new doses of the vaccine on Wednesday, but appointments were booked within minutes, CBS2’s Leah Mishkin reported Thursday. 

“I’ve been checking the website almost hourly for the last four or five says. Lots of rumors going around about appointments being available and then they’re not,” said Nathan Green. 

Green arrived at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic on Thursday to try and get a shot at the new temporary monkeypox vaccine site. He was told there were no walk-ins and to keep checking the website.

Green said some of his friends decided to travel out of state to get the vaccine. 

“I think New York is trying their best. I think they’re doing the best they can, but if there’s another option that can help me in the meantime, I’m happy to do that,” Green said. 

Health officials gathered outside the city’s second temporary monkeypox vaccine site at the Central Harlem Sexual Health Clinic. They said they’re working on adding more appointments. 

“Our federal partners are working hard to secure doses for this city and across the nation,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. 

Vasan stressed the most common symptoms are sores or a rash. 

“Monkeypox is by and large non-fatal,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “The lesions are painful, they can occur in painful places. We want people to understand that this is something that you don’t want to get.” 

Dr. William DeWitt of Callen Lorde Community Health Center said the vaccine is critical if you’ve been exposed. 

“It does work where you get the vaccine a few days after exposure, it can prevent illness,” DeWitt said. 

Anyone can get monkeypox. According to city officials, cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. 

The city plans to open a third temporary vaccine site in Corona later in July. 

For more information on monkeypox symptoms and how to get a vaccine in the city, click here.

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