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New York City made another batch of monkeypox vaccines available on Tuesday but the website for appointments crashed within minutes due to sky-high demand, health officials said.
About 267 New Yorkers have already tested positive for monkeypox, a virus that is similar to smallpox with milder symptoms.
Nearly 7,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine have been made available in New York City since June 23. Another 14,500 vaccines are expected to arrive later this week.
“We will advise New Yorkers when more appointments can be made,” New York City’s health department tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
“We apologize for the frustration caused and are working to build stable appointment infrastructure as we roll out more appointments as vaccine supply increases in the coming weeks.”
On Tuesday, Washington D.C. Health announced that residents can pre-register for monkeypox vaccine online.
According to the agency, individuals who have pre-registered will receive an email invitation to make an appointment once they’re available. On Thursday, July 14, 3,000 appointments will be available for the District’s eligible residents.
In addition to be over 18 years-old and a Washington D.C. resident, eligible vaccine candidates must fit one of the following descriptions:
- Gay, bisexual and other men 18 and older who have sex with men and have had multiple sexual partners or any anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days
- Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men
- Sex workers
- Staff at establishments where sexual activity occurs including bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs
Vaccine appointments are free and based on availability. Residents who do not meet the requirement are encouraged to pre-register. If eligibility expands, people who have already registered will get notified about available appointments first.
In Chicago, the virus was first detected over a month ago. Since then, 105 Chicagoans have been diagnosed with the virus, health officials said.
The cases have mostly involved men who have sex with men, officials said. The city has begun to offer targeted vaccinations.
The city has already received 5,409 doses of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government, said Massimo Pacilli, the Chicago Public Health Department’s deputy commissioner of disease control. Distribution has been targeted to who may be at a higher risk due to their sexual activity.
Nationwide, 929 monkeypox cases have been detected across dozens of states, according to CDC data.
The first commercial testing for monkeypox rolled out in the US last week as health officials scramble to ramp up surveillance of the virus.
The White House announced that 1.6 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine will be available by the end of this year.
More than 10,000 cases have been detected since May around the world, prompting the World Health Organization to reconvene a committee as early as next week to determine whether the outbreak should be labeled a global health emergency.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, and fatigue, followed by a rash that develops into lesions.