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Monkeypox: New York opens three mass vaccination centers

A man wearing a facemask who has been vaccinated
Posed by model (Photo: Shutterstock)

New York City, one of the hotspots in the US for monkeypox, has opened three mass vaccination centers . It’s part of the city’s effort to get as many of those most at risk (currently gay/bi men) vaccinated.

Vaccinations were already taking place in Chelsea in Manhattan. Further centers opened last weekend in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

Health workers hope to be able to vaccinate up to 1,400 people each day at each site. However, when news of the centers dropped last Friday, the Sunday appointment slots filled up within 90 minutes.

Clearly, supply is still not meeting demand.

Related: He loved his Florida trip. Then the monkeypox blisters appeared.

For anyone wanting to try and book an appointment or find out more about where to go, check the official NYC Health Department page.

Alternatively, call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692). All the mass vaccination centers are due to have slots available this coming weekend (July 30, and July 31). Perhaps follow the Health Department on Twitter and allow notifications to alert you when slots become available.

US poised to have more monkypox cases than any other country

Yesterday, NYC officials said 1,092 people had tested positive for monkeypox in the city. Nationwide, just under 3,500 cases of monkeypox have been recorded. Experts say the US is poised to soon overtake Spain as the country with the highest number of cases.

Last weekend, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox to be a global health emergency. The classification is the highest alert that the WHO can issue. It comes after cases have surged worldwide.

There has been frustration that the vaccine rollout is not fast enough. Last week, a coalition of LGBTQ groups in California wrote to the Biden administration demanding it to do more.

“We, at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, are fearful that the government’s history of not taking the necessary action to protect the LGBT community when facing a public health threat is repeating itself with the current Monkeypox response,” said Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, in a press release.

“The rate of infection and unmet needs will slowly push California to become the epicenter of the virus. Though hMPXV is known to have a short incubation period and is not fatal, fear of the virus is growing.”

So far, monkeypox has disproportionately impacted gay and bisexual men. In the UK, men who have sex with men make up over 95% of cases. There are fears it will soon start spreading across other sections of the population. In recent days, two cases in children have been reported in the US.

Related: Gay man with monkeypox reveals symptoms and lesions in viral video

More men have taken to social media to talk about the illness and its symptoms. Below are just a couple of examples. Be warned: Some of the images are graphic.

What is monkeypox

Monkeypox is caused by a virus similar to smallpox. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

It will often be accompanied by a chickenpox-like rash, with lesions tending to eventually scab over and fall off.

Monkeypox lesions
Monkeypox lesions (Photo: UK Health Security Agency)

It’s usually a mild, self-limiting illness, and most people will recover within weeks. However, the deadliest variant of the virus can be fatal for up to one in ten of those infected.

The form of the virus currently circulating is milder, with a fatality rate of less than 1 percent. The WHO said last weekend that it knew of five deaths as a result of the current, worldwide outbreak.

Anyone who feels unwell and notices an unusual rash should seek medical help.

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