A NYC monkeypox walk-in jab center for gay and bisexual men was forced to close its doors two days before Pride week after fears the festival may cause an unmanageable surge in patients.
The rash-causing virus which is spread by in the saliva or bodily fluid of an infected individual is most prominent in the gay community, particularly gay men who have sex with multiple partners.
Almost all of New York City’s 30 cases of monkeypox have been gay men and numerous authorities including those in NY, the UK and Canada have followed the WHO’s advice to offer the vaccine to sexually active homosexual men.
The US now has detected a total of 173 cases of monkeypox in almost half of its states.
The two-dose vaccine called Jynneos, which is also used to treat smallpox, is available in New York for any man over 18 who has had sex with men or multiple sexual partners in the last 14 days.
“Anyone can get and spread monkeypox, but most cases in the current outbreak are among gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men,” said the city’s health department.
“Men who have sex or other intimate contact with men they met through dating apps or social media platforms, or at clubs, raves, sex parties, saunas, or other large gatherings may be at higher risk of having been recently exposed.”
But the demand for the jab has been so high, a walk-in clinic offering doses of Jynneos in the run-up to Pride was forced to close its doors to those waiting in the 100-men-long line just hours after it opened.
Many of the gay men who had turned up to get the jab believe the clinic should have opened sooner and blasted the scheme for being disorganized and poorly run, particularly as many of them were hoping to be protected before the Pride celebrations in two days’ time:
“I think that lots of gay men in New York have been keeping tabs on it closer than our straight counterparts,” said an unnamed gay man to CBS yesterday.
“I think that lots of us have heard stories of a friend of a friend who got monkeypox – and it felt there was a sense of, if we didn’t get the vaccine now, especially after we’re going to see so many friends this weekend at pride, that we would eventually get monkeypox.”
At 12pm the NYC Health Department released a statement to say the Chelsea clinic was providing jabs for “all eligible New Yorkers,” but less than two hours later it wrote: “Due to high demand, we will no longer be able to accommodate walk-ins today. Check back on Sunday for additional appointments”.
Scientists have begun to research monkeypox in labs to try to get a better understanding of the virus and to increase the chance of a correct diagnosis. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has sent swabs to various labs.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said “all Americans should be concerned about monkeypox” but added “thankfully, we have right now the tools to fight and treat cases in America.
“By dramatically expanding the number of testing locations throughout the country, we are making it possible for anyone who needs to be tested to do so”.
This story syndicated with permission from Jo Marney, Author at Trending Politics
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