On a hot Sunday afternoon in New York, the epicenter of the US monkeypox outbreak, a long line of men aged 20 to 40 wait for a vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones against the virus.
With its rows of tables and chairs and stacks of medical equipment, the vaccination center—a high school in Bushwick, Brooklyn—is reminiscent of a vaccine spot for Covid-19, a virus for which New York was also the US epicenter.
Everyone who spoke to AFP while waiting in line said they felt lucky to have gotten an appointment, as New York lacks doses. On Friday, 9,200 time slots became available on the city’s dedicated website at 6:00 pm.
They were all gone in seven minutes.
Three days earlier, site traffic was so high that the page crashed.
“It was frustrating, largely because especially with Covid, you’d think that we would have more of a structured process or vaccine rollout,” Aidan Baglivo, 23, told AFP. “There just wasn’t really anything.”
‘Shouldn’t be an issue’
The city of more than eight million people saw monkeypox infections climb last week, with 461 cases recorded Friday since the US outbreak began in May.
That number is up from 223 cases on Monday.
Baglivo, a data analyst, noted that people who are the most connected on social media have the highest chances of getting a vaccine appointment.
Robert, who declined to give his last name, told AFP he sat at his computer refreshing the website “like a crazy person” until he got a slot.
Read More: New Yorkers queue up for monkeypox vaccine as cases climb