In New York, long lines to get vaccinated against monkeypox

In New York, long lines to get vaccinated against monkeypox

With its tables and chairs lined up and the medical equipment, the gymnasium, in a high school in Brooklyn, is reminiscent of an anti-Covid vaccination center: but it was for monkey pox that it opened on Sunday in New York, “epicenter ” American viral disease.

Outside, in the Bushwick district, a long queue has formed on the sidewalk, for the vast majority of men aged between their twenties and their forties, eager to protect those around them and to avoid monkeypox, rashes and pains.

Everyone AFP interviewed felt lucky, as it was difficult to get an appointment on the city’s dedicated website, which lacks doses. On Friday, 9,200 slots were released at 6 p.m. and left in seven minutes. Three days earlier, the traffic was such that it overwhelmed the site and brought it down.

The city of more than 8 million inhabitants saw contaminations climb last week, with 461 cases listed on Friday since the appearance of the disease in the United States in May, against 223 on Monday.

– Connected –

“It’s frustrating, especially because with Covid, you would have thought there would be a more structured process for rolling out vaccines, but there really wasn’t a process,” said Aidan Baglivo, an analyst. of 23 years of data, for whom the people best connected to social networks are privileged.

People wait to be vaccinated against monkeypox on July 17, 2022 in New York (AFP – Kena Betancur)

“That shouldn’t be a problem, because there is already a vaccine, and every day that there are not more people vaccinated is wasted,” laments Robert, 28. He himself was able to have a date, refreshing the page “like a crazy”, but not his companion or his best friend.

Anyone can get monkeypox, which is spread through close contact, but the Jynneos vaccine is currently restricted to men who have sex with men, the vast majority of cases. This is enough to fuel fears that the LGBTQ community, of which New York is one of the capitals, will be further stigmatized and that the virus will become “a gay disease” in people’s minds.

– “Fear” –

Monkey pox (“monkeypox” in English), “it’s really a scary name”, fears Robert.

New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan speaks on July 17, 2022, in the gymnasium of a Brooklyn high school converted into a monkeypox vaccination site (AFP - Kena Betancur)
New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan speaks on July 17, 2022, in the gymnasium of a Brooklyn high school converted into a monkeypox vaccination site (AFP – Kena Betancur)

For Nathan Tylutki, a 42-year-old actor, “maybe there would be an answer to develop more vaccines if it didn’t affect queer people”. According to him, there will be few anti-vaccines in this community, “because we have seen the diseases, we know what AIDS is”.

Monkeypox usually heals on its own, but it is characterized by rashes — which can appear on the genitals or in the mouth — and can be accompanied by high fever, sore throat and sometimes severe pain. .

The megalopolis of the American east coast counts 21,500 doses of vaccines already injected or appointments made and it hopes to be able to accelerate with the promise of more than 30,000 vaccines for the entire State of New York, of which it should receive a good part. . But for lack of doses, the Bushwick site was not to reopen on Monday.

The queue, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in front of a monkey pox vaccination site, in a high school in Brooklyn, New York (AFP - Kena Betancur)
The queue, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in front of a monkey pox vaccination site, in a high school in Brooklyn, New York (AFP – Kena Betancur)

“We need tens of thousands of doses,” city health commissioner Ashwin Vasan insisted on Sunday.

In the queue, Leroy Jackson, a 27-year-old fitness instructor, has another worry.

“I must be the only one or maybe we are two or three black people in this queue”, out of more than a hundred people who are waiting, he notes, raising the question of access to appointments. you for the minorities and the less privileged.

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