The World Health Organization says the virus is now in the same category as COVID-19 and polio.
Bijan Avaz told CBS2's Dave Carlin he gets his first of two doses of monkeypox vaccine in the Bronx on Sunday. On Saturday, he was checking out the vaccine location set up by the health department at the Bronx High School of Science.
Signs were going up just as the disease was declared a global emergency by the World Heath Organization.
"I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern," W.H.O. director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The announcement came despite a lack of consensus among the organizations' panel of advisers.
"The outbreak has continued to grow, and there are now more than 16,000 reported cases from 75 countries and territories," Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Of the 16,000 worldwide cases, New York City has the largest number of any U.S. city with 839 reported infections. Researchers believe the actual number is higher.
New York City health officials say with cases of monkeypox rising, the need for many more doses of vaccine is urgent.
The vaccine rollout is slow and described as insufficient. The city offered 17,000 first-dose appointments Friday at 6 p.m. and.
"It was kind of difficult at first, but you just refresh the page and I booked the appointment," Avaz said.
Avaz and a majority of others with the newly made appointments will get shots on one of three consecutive Sundays, starting July 24, at mass vaccination sites set up at Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn's Science Skills Center High School and Intermediate School 125 in Queens.
MONKEYPOX IN NYC:
City leaders say the federal government needs to do a better job of freeing up more vaccine doses and getting them here without further delay.
While the vast majority of cases involve men who have sex with other men, there are exceptions.
The CDC announced Friday there are two cases involving children in the U.S. Public health officials are still investigating how they were infected but say it's most likely the result of household transmission.
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