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Treatment Action Group Statement on NYC DOHMH Monkeypox Vaccination Announcement

FOR RELEASE: Thursday 23 June 2022, 11:30 a.m. ET

In response to this morning’s announcement by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) that the DOHMH would open a temporary monkeypox vaccination clinic at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic in New York, Treatment Action Group’s Executive Director, Mark Harrington, and TAG HIV Project Director Riko A. Boone, MSW, MPH, MA, said:

“TAG welcomes DOHMH’s announcement that it will open a temporary monkeypox vaccination clinic at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic in Manhattan, aimed at vaccinating men who have sex with men (cis- or transgender) who have had anonymous or multipartner sex over the past two weeks.

“TAG believes that this intervention will need to be made much more broadly available in New York City — including among MSM and their communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens — due to the inadequate testing coverage to date and the high likelihood that much undetected transmission is occurring.

“This program must be accompanied by a massive and culturally sensitive, scientifically accurate public media campaign, greatly expanded availability of rapid testing for monkeypox (MPX), ring-vaccination of health care workers and other close contacts of people exposed to or infected with MPX, and the ready availability of FDA-approved and CDC-recommended pox-virus treatments such as such as tecovirimat and vaccine immunoglobulin intravenous (VIGIV).

“Because MPX symptoms are often non-specific, because it can take up to 21 days for symptoms such as skin-pox to appear, and because it’s unclear how prevalent aerosol transmission is, TAG also calls on NYC DOHMH to work with partners including NYS DOH and CDC to carry out swift and broad epidemiological studies and rapid testing campaigns to define the true extent of the current MPX outbreak, its spread, scope, and speed, and to work with affected communities, scientists, and health workers to define the current outbreak and create and fully fund effective strategies to bring the outbreak under control.

“We call on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to work with manufacturers and Departments of Health to assess the safety and protective effect of the MPX vaccine among adolescents aged 12-18 in open-label expanded access studies.

“While the MPX outbreak is now global, we must also ensure that people living in places where MPX outbreaks have been occurring for decades, such as in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, are also prioritized for testing, vaccination, and treatment programs. We cannot afford to delay and deny access to effective tools to prevent and treat an outbreak such as MPX when there are scientifically proven vaccines, treatments, and test protocols which, when used together and equitably, can bring this outbreak under control everywhere.”

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Read the city’s statement here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/about/press/pr2022/monkeypox-vaccine-clinic.page.

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