The monkeypox outbreak continues to grow faster than many initially expected. Nearly 6000 cases have been reported in the US since May. In the past week, three states have issued emergency declarations over the outbreak. Criticism has grown as well about the Biden administration's response. And yesterday the president named a coordinator for the federal efforts and shipped another 737,000 vaccines to states and cities. Stephanie Sai has more on the moon. Moves to contain it in one of the epicenters of the country.

During. Ooh York, was the first to declare a state of emergency last Friday as monkeypox cases there have reached over 1000 with the majority of cases being in New York City. The New York City health commissioner, Dr Ashwin Vasin is the point person there and joins us now, Doctor Vasin. Thank you so much for joining the news hour. Um, I understand that since June, New York City has had a hard time meeting the demand for monkey pox vaccine. So a few months into this, Where are you and having a handle on monkey pox in New York City? Yeah, thanks for the question. You know, New York as ever was really leading the way. We were the first in the country to start Vaccinating people against monkeypox people at risk of getting or risk of transmitting monkeypox because we knew we needed to do our best to get ahead of it. And certainly, vaccine supply has been constrained throughout this rollout, and that's limited the number of vaccines that we're able to deliver to slow this down, But I'm encouraged because we're starting to see that supply increase.

We just got the announcement of our allocation. From against the 800,000 doses or so that are now in the country. And, you know, we're grateful to our federal partners who I hope are now looking ahead to the next batch that this country is going to need. We are certainly the epicenter of this outbreak. We have 25% of the cases in the country, and we estimate that there are up to 150,000 people who might be at risk of getting or transmitting. Monkey pox according to the current criteria, So we have a lot of work to do.

Doctor. We spoke earlier with Joe Osmond Seuin. He's a microbiologist. He's a queer activist who's been in touch with a lot of folks impacted by the outbreak. And he told this that New York City's response to monkey pox is quote. Not only not equitable, it is stressed to the point of not functioning for most people, both on the treatment and post exposure vaccinations. What is your response to that? Look, we've tried from the beginning to prioritize urgency getting shots in arms and equity. Um, what We talk a lot about these large vaccination sites similar to what we did for covid mass vaccination sites. But what's talked about less or the thousands of doses that were reserving for community based organizations that serve Um men who have sex with men that served communities of color that serve the LGBTQ community that we're reserving appointments for them in order to ensure that equities built into this approach.

It's one of the lessons we learned from Covid. We and many places across the country got vaccines into arms as quickly as possible. But then we were left kind of working on equity for the weeks and months thereafter, we are trying to prioritize this from the beginning. It's very hard to ensure equity in an environment of deeply constrained supply, but I'm optimistic will will will see the results in the coming weeks ahead. It's been suggested that maybe having mobile vaccine clinics that would go directly to queer spaces directly to LGBT Q circuit parties that that might be a better way to get to the most vulnerable populations.

Is that something that your office is considering? Absolutely. We're actually working on this right now, Um, you know, we've learned through covid that you can deliver vaccines in a targeted way to places where they're needed the most, and that has to complement an approach that also delivers vaccines that scale. It also complements an approach that as I mentioned works with community based organizations that have long term relationships, and that works with trusted providers like HIV providers, and L G B T Q, affirming clinical providers, so we're trying to Take a really multidisciplinary approach to this again. It's really tough to do all of that.

In an environment of constraints apply, but I think we're seeing those gears term. Why has it been so difficult to get enough vaccine within New York City, which as you say, makes up 25% of the nationwide cases? Well, we make up 25% of the nationwide cases. And if you look at the last vaccine allocation, we got 10% of that allocation. While we are extraordinarily grateful to our partners in Washington and Atlanta and elsewhere for their efforts, we need more vaccine and we need vaccine commensurate with the scale of the problem here.

We also need the allocation between New York State and New York City to be in line with the burden on New York City. We represent over 90% almost 95% of the cases in the state are here in New York City, And yet we only got in the last round about 70% of the allocation from the overall state allocations. So we have work to do on the basic math of this. Doctor. Let's talk about the Biden administration's response to monkey pox as the top health official in the city with the most number of cases right now in the U. S. If you were in a room today with the just appointed monkeypox coordinator Robert Fenton, what would you want to relate to him? Number one. You know, I'm really encouraged by these appointments. Mr Fenton and Dr Daskalakis, A former colleague here from New York City, Um, are really an embodiment of balancing operations and science for the best of both worlds.

And that's really what we need. We need to science driven response with speed and logistical efficiency. I would Kind of Emphasized to them once again that, you know, we've been running a covid response for 2.5 years on emergency funds. We need emergency funds now and a declaration of an emergency now from the federal government to access those FEMA funds and other funds in order to mount the kind of response and I would hope that this would trigger a longer term conversation about what a permanent Public health infrastructure looks like because we can't keep running these responses off of emergency funds.

We need that permanent, flexible, nimble public health infrastructure that can meet people where they are and respond to what people expect of us. The New York City health commissioner, Dr Ashwin Vasin, thank you so much doctor for joining the news hour..



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