New York City Is Offering Mpox Vaccines to High-Risk Groups


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Key Takeaways

  • New York City is the first city in the U.S. to offer mpox vaccinations to people beyond those who have been exposed to the virus.
  • Currently, only certain men who have sex with men meet the eligibility criteria for the vaccine. 
  • The two-dose Jynneos mpox vaccines are in short supply.

New York City on Thursday began offering the mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) vaccine to certain people who are at high risk for the illness based on their sexual activity.

The temporary vaccine clinic, located in Chelsea, expanded eligibility for the two-dose Jynneos vaccine to “all gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (cisgender or transgender) ages 18 and older who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days,” according to the city’s health department.

What Is Mpox?

Mpox is a rare disease related to smallpox defined by raised lesions on the skin. It is spread through close contact with an infected person’s rash, bodily fluids, or respiratory secretions.

Vaccine appointments have been booked up through Monday. Prior to the opening of the clinic, New York City hospitals were already offering the vaccine to people who may have had recent exposure to mpox.

The vaccination rollout in New York comes on the heels of a decision from the United Kingdom to begin offering mpox vaccines to men who have sex with men on Tuesday.

“Members of the LGBTQ+ community have always been fierce advocates for their rights, including, and especially, when it comes to receiving timely access to health care,” New York City health commissioner Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD, said in a statement. “Vaccination against monkeypox is a critical tool to allow New Yorkers to protect themselves and to help slow the spread of monkeypox in our city.”

Anyone can get and spread mpox, but most cases in the current outbreak are among gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, according to the press statement from the city’s health department.

Health experts maintain most people will not need an mpox vaccine because the disease is rare and requires close physical contact to spread. Currently, there are 201 confirmed cases in the U.S., 39 of which are in New York City

Most people are still not eligible for an mpox vaccine. Though certain people in New York City are now eligible, the city only has about 1,000 doses available, according to a tweet by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.

What This Means For You

While you can’t get the shot if you’re already experiencing fever, rash or sores, if your partners are showing these symptoms, you should make a vaccine appointment. The vaccines are free of charge.

1 Source
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About monkeypox: frequently asked questions.

By Anisa Arsenault
Anisa joined the company in 2018 after managing news surrounding fertility, pregnancy, and parenting for The Bump. Her health and wellness articles have appeared in outlets like Prevention and Metro US. At Verywell, she is responsible for the news program, which includes coverage of COVID-19.