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Over 100,000 monkeypox vaccine doses coming to New York state

NYS health department declares monkeypox outbreak an imminent threat
NYS health department declares monkeypox outbreak an imminent threat 02:41

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that nearly a million new monkeypox vaccine doses will be distributed nationwide.

A chunk of those doses will be heading to New York, where the state health commissioner has declared the outbreak an imminent threat to public health.

That means local health departments will be able to access additional state reimbursement and other federal and state funding for their response.

This all comes at a time when many are calling for a name change.

READ MORE: NYC health officials look to rename monkeypox over stigma in communities of color

"First of all ... don't call it monkeypox. It has nothing to do with that name," Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The stigma over that label continues as the World Health Organization is pressured to change it, as it is offensive to various communities.

Meanwhile, the number of cases is expected to climb even higher over the coming days and weeks. There are now 1,092 cases in New York City.

Nationwide, 800,000 new doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine are being released.

Starting Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services says 30,000 doses will be allocated to Upstate New York and another 80,000 to the city. But Councilman Erik Bottcher says the federal government may have missed the window of containment.

"They seem to be pushing vaccines out the door, but where were they two months ago when activists were crying out for them to get these vaccines out the door?" he told CBS2's Alecia Reid.

MONKEYPOX IN NYC: Identifying symptoms, prevention tips, how to get a vaccine and more

"It's too little, too late, honestly. We're already at pandemic levels here in the LGBT community with monkeypox, and 80,000 doses is not enough for New York City," ACT UP organizer Brandon Cuicchi told CBS2's Dick Brennan.

Cuicchi says it's not like the state and the feds haven't experienced a pandemic.

"We dealt with starting over two years ago, with not having enough COVID tests, a lot of misinformation kind of leading the way, leading the response of things, and I'm worried we're falling into the same traps of COVID," he said.

"In June, they said that there's are gonna be a million doses coming. It doesn't make a difference when you just say, 'There are doses coming,'" said Mordechai Levovitz, clinical director of Jewish Queer Youth.

He says it's all about the details, saying they have always been slow in coming, just like the vaccine rollout.

"Tell me when they are coming, how do we get the doses in the arms, is it gonna be equitable to everybody, is there a way to get the doses after you were exposed? Right now, we are over two months into an epidemic that didn't need to happen," he said.

Watch Alecia Reid's report

Monkeypox vaccine production ramped up as cases rise in New York City 02:26

Authorities say they are moving urgently to get shots in arms and doctors are ready to go.

"We must be on top of it," said Dr. Harry Chen, president of SOMOS Community Care in the Bronx.

Chen says it's crucial to vaccinate at-risk groups, including men who have been intimate with men.

"Whenever the vaccine we get, we should give to the high-risk population as a priority, but everyone want it, we should give to them," he said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul released the following statement on the 110,000 additional monkeypox vaccine doses:

"I am grateful to President Biden and other Administration officials for their help in securing an additional 110,000 monkeypox vaccine doses - approximately 80,000 to New York City and 30,000 to the rest of New York State - which will be delivered over the next four to six weeks and allow us to continue to respond to this troubling outbreak. This builds on the more than 60,000 monkeypox doses that New York City and New York State have received to date due to our ongoing coordination with the federal government.

"With more than one-quarter of all cases in the U.S., New Yorkers, and especially our LGBTQ+ community, remain among the hardest-hit. We will continue to advocate to the federal government for our fair share of vaccines based on the disease burden impacting New York."

"My team and I have been working around the clock to confront the monkeypox outbreak and keep New Yorkers safe, and we will continue our ongoing efforts to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity, and educate the public on how to identify symptoms and protect themselves." 

The disease can be spread through skin-to-skin, intimacy or contact with clothes or linen.

"If you share a bed, if you share towels, if you share clothing, if you've had skin-to-skin contact with somebody who is in your household, yes, you would be a high-risk exposure," said Manisha Juthany, with the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

With over two dozen cases in Connecticut, there are now 15 primary vaccination sites across the state. Health officials there say at this stage, outreach is critical.

"We have 800 doses that will be going out to people across the state starting Monday, and every single day we will ramp that up as much as possible," Juthany said.

READ MORE: 2 new monkeypox vaccination sites opening in New Jersey

In New Jersey, two new monkeypox vaccination sites open Friday, and Gov. Phil Murphy penned a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting an increased supply, saying his state's current allocation is not enough, particularly for the dense portion of residents living close to New York City.

HHS says the goal is to stay ahead of the virus. Those eligible for vaccination include people who are high risk, or those who've had contact with an infected person within the last 14 days.

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