Monkeypox Vaccine Rollout Is Marred by Glitches in New York
The Jynneos vaccine requires two doses to be fully protective, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but so far, all of the doses coming to the city are being considered as first doses. As more doses arrive, there will be more available for second doses, said Dr. Mary Bassett, the state health commissioner.
Paul Chaplin, the chief executive officer of Bavarian Nordic, which makes the vaccine, said Thursday that research shows that one dose offers “a very robust level of protection.” Dr. Bassett, however, said that full protection from the vaccine would only come two weeks after the second dose.
New York health officials said people who fall into one of several categories are eligible for the vaccine:
Individuals with exposure to monkeypox within the past 14 days.
Those at high risk of a recent exposure to monkeypox, including members of the gay, bisexual, transgender and other communities of men who have sex with men and who have engaged in intimate or skin-to-skin contact with others in the past 14 days in areas where monkeypox is spreading.
Individuals who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network where monkeypox is spreading, including men who have sex with men and who meet partners through an online website, digital app or social event, such as a bar or party.
In part because the categories are broad, demand for the vaccine is extremely high.
Eugene Resnick, who works as a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said he spent nine hours refreshing the city’s webpage before being able to finally snag an appointment after 6 p.m.
“I’m frustrated, angry, disappointed with the Health Department,” he said. “I’m an insider working in the government. I can’t imagine it’s at all accessible to the regular person not on Twitter.”
At a news conference on Thursday, Mayor Eric Adams said the city was giving out vaccine doses as soon as it received them. “We are not just ignoring it,” he said. “There was a glitch by the third-party vendor that created the website, but we pivot and shifted and we’re getting the vaccines out the door.”
Joseph Osmundson, a microbiologist and queer activist helping to increase access to the vaccine, said that the city did the right thing by opening the Harlem clinic, but that there had to be a more urgent effort to get more vaccine supply to the city soon.
“At every level, there is such frustration in the community,” Mr. Osmundson said. He said people he knows are trying to be careful but are increasingly angry at what they feel is a lack of urgency to protect the gay community in particular: “We feel like we’re being left behind and then blamed for the spread.”
Nate Schweber contributed reporting.