NYC begins offering second doses of monkeypox vaccine

Monkeypox Vaccine
Second doses of the monkeypox vaccine will be available in New York City beginning on September 2, health officials said.
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP, File

The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene has opened up appointments for second doses of the monkeypox vaccine for those who have waited at least 10 weeks since their first jab, officials announced on September 1. That means the first people eligible to receive a second dose of the Jynneos vaccine are those whose first shot was administered in June.

Appointments for first and second doses will be available beginning at 4 p.m. on September 2 and those who are eligible for their second jab will receive an email or text message, according to health officials. There will be 8,000 appointments available for first-dose shots.

The Health Department announced the news as part of a series of developments pertaining to the city’s fight against monkeypox. Among other updates, the Health Department said first dose appointments are now available on a walk-in basis and sex workers of any gender or sexual orientation have been added to the list of those who are eligible to get vaccinated.

“While our strategies have been constrained by scarcity, our goals have always been expansive, and that is to get vaccine to New Yorkers who need it, including second doses,” Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a written statement. “Now that we’ve gotten first doses to more than 70,000 New Yorkers, people can get their eagerly awaited second shots by appointment — and we’re making vaccination even more convenient by welcoming walk-ins for first doses.”

In total, the shots are eligible for cisgender men who have had sex with multiple or anonymous men or transgender individuals in the last two weeks; transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary individuals who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last two weeks, regardless of gender or sexual orientation; and sex workers of any gender or sexual orientation.

As officials announced earlier in the summer, the city is also continuing to allocate a portion of doses to community-based organizations serving New Yorkers who are at greater risk of contracting monkeypox.

Statistics continue to show cases are overwhelmingly confined to men who have sex with men. Men make up 2,848 of the 3,019 total cases in New York City, while non-binary or gender-queer individuals account for 47 cases. Transgender women make up 37 cases and there have been six cases among trans men.

Monkeypox cases in New York City have been on the decline in recent weeks. While the city tallied 94 cases on July 25 and 93 on August 1, the seven-day average caseload has been dropping every week: The city was averaging just 32 cases per day by August 23, according to the seven-day average posted by the Health Department.

The introduction of second doses coincides with expanded vaccine access after the federal government implemented a new intradermal dosing strategy to stretch the limited supply. The new approach entails administering just a fraction of a typical shot between layers of skin to maximize the power of the vaccine.

“The intradermal dosing strategy appears to have similar effect on the immune system as the traditional subcutaneous dosing strategy,” Vasan said during an August 24 City Council hearing. “From a scientific perspective and an efficacy perspective, the early data that we have is very promising.”

While first dose appointments are now available on a walk-in basis, folks are still encouraged to schedule appointments. To sign up for monkeypox vaccine appointments, visit vax4nyc.nyc.gov/monkeypox or by calling 877-829-4692. To find out which locations offer shots, visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov.

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