Monkeypox NYC: Vaccine demand outpacing availability

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, New York City's health commissioner, attempted to ease growing monkeypox concerns at the groundbreaking of a new public health lab in Harlem.

"This is a non-fatal illness. It’s usually self-limited. It’s largely dermatologic, though it can have some systemic symptoms. We have seen, I believe, only one hospitalization due to it and largely for pain control reasons," he reiterated.

The NYC Health Dept. says as of July 6, 119 people have tested positive for the orthopox virus and likely have monkeypox.

The case count has more than doubled, up from 55 cases reported last week.

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Fears are heightened on the heels of a pandemic that claimed more than one million lives nationwide, but Vasan made one thing abundantly clear: Monkeypox is not COVID-19.

"The difference between this and COVID amongst many differences is that we actually have an effective vaccine from the beginning of the outbreak. So deploying that vaccine, manufacturing and deploying that vaccine, becomes essential," he explained.

Monkeypox is typically spread through direct contact with the skin of an infected person.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and lesions all over the body.

Matt Ford, one of the first Americans to be infected, shared his experience battling the virus on Good Day New York.

"For me, it was pretty intense flu-like symptoms in the beginning with a few lesions. Then, as those flu-like symptoms abated, more and more lesions popped up on my skin, some of which were quite painful," he said.

Last month, a new vaccine clinic opened for people exposed to the virus but demand far outpaced supply.

This week, the Health Dept. announced that a new batch of shots had arrived and began scheduling appointments. 

Health officials later wrote in a tweet: "Due to an unfortunate glitch, monkeypox appointments were made available prematurely."

"We’re grateful to our federal partners for delivering the doses that we need, and we’re gonna need more in the coming weeks and months," Vasan added.