New York State is receiving 110,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine after the federal government approved nearly 800,000 shots to be distributed across the nation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on July 28.
Most of the doses allocated to New York State will be sent to New York City, which has counted 1,251 cases as of July 28.
“Today, I am happy to announce that of the 786,000 Denmark vaccines now in our national stockpile, and cleared by the FDA, New York City will be getting more than 80,000 doses, which is more than 10%,” Schumer said in a written statement provided to Gay City News. “Moreover, New York State will be receiving 30,000 individual doses. This is a big win for public health, and New York.”
Hundreds of thousands of doses were stuck in Denmark due to regulatory hurdles, fueling outrage among activists who demanded swift action from the federal government.
Schumer claimed he has been in discussions with “each and every agency” for weeks to address the monkeypox outbreak.
“We know our biggest hurdle right now is that we need more vaccines, and I’ve told the FDA we need those vaccines in New York stat,” he said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra held a July 28 press call with reporters and said the United States expects to have received seven million doses of the Jynneos vaccine by May of next year.
The federal government has, to this point, distributed at least 300,000 monkeypox vaccine doses around the country. Still, many of the vaccine appointments tend to be reserved immediately after becoming available, prompting government officials in some cities — including New York — to focus on only administering the first dose of the two-dose regimen. Second shots will likely become available once the supply is further expanded.
At the moment, the vaccine’s eligibility is limited to men who have sex with men and transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals who are at least 18 years of age and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last two weeks. Anyone who has been a close contact of someone with monkeypox is also eligible to get jabbed.
Becerra said multiple times that the United States has less than 5,000 cases, but that number is likely higher because of barriers to testing. Efforts have been made to escalate testing capacity, and Becerra said 60,000-80,000 tests have been made available weekly.
Even as testing is ramped up, however, there are reports of low demand for tests. According to CNN, multiple labs — including Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Aegis Sciences Corp., and Labcorb — can administer thousands of tests per week, but they are only getting a fraction of the samples they can absorb.