Statement on the New York State and City Response to Monkeypox

Statement on the New York State and City Response to Monkeypox

Thursday, July 7, 2022

As leading LGBTQI advocacy and healthcare organizations in New York City and State we are disappointed and frustrated with the recent rollout of vaccines for and response to monkeypox cases by our government partners. The LGBTQI community, including gay and bisexual men, trans people, non-binary individuals, and men who have sex with men has suffered from a history of neglect and failed responses to public health epidemics. We will not allow this to continue. 

“We are potentially facing yet another epidemic with the rapid spread of Monkeypox. However, we are seeing very little movement and public education needed to keep people safe. Right now, we are asking for the local, state, and federal government to increase their focus on keeping us safe,” said Amanda Babine, Executive Director of Equality NY

As of today, Thursday, July 7th, 2022 there have been 141 monkeypox cases recorded so far. The number of positive cases has doubled since last week and we are demanding that this be taken seriously. We recognize that the city and state are working on various components of this response. However, to have integrity this should also be led by communities directly impacted by this virus. Therefore, we are making the following demands on the ongoing rollout of vaccines and response:

Secure Additional Vaccines: We need our city and state partners to make additional requests for monkeypox vaccines from our federal partners and we are ready to support the advocacy for this. To wait for the virus to spread further is not a response and we want to be proactive in being able to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible.

Ongoing State & City Education & Updates: As was the case with COVID-19, the general public deserves to receive regular updates from our New York City Mayor and New York State Governor, including but not limited to where we are seeing cases rise and the number of vaccines being distributed.

Language Justice: We expect technological glitches with the Medrite website to be corrected immediately and for there to be language accessibility for people whose first language is not English. We also remind our government partners that there must be trans-inclusive language in all the communications by the government. 

Implement a Regional Equity Lens: While we currently know that many cases are in Chelsea, we also want to be proactive about distributing vaccines to sexual health clinics in other boroughs of New York City where various other public health issues are disproportionately prevalent. 

The rollout of vaccines yesterday was wholly inadequate. We deserve and must do better.