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Data from Health Department shows racial disparities in monkeypox vaccine distribution

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The city’s Health Department has released new data that shows the inequities with the monkeypox vaccination among particular New Yorkers.

The new data revealed that only 12% of vaccination doses were given to Black New Yorkers, who represent 31% of the possible vaccine-eligible population.

Over 23% of vaccines were provided to Latino or Hispanic New Yorkers, who represent 16% of the possible vaccine-eligible population and 10.2% of doses were administered to Asian or Pacific Islander New Yorkers, who represent 7% of the population, according to the data.

“That said, we remain committed to making sure that those at highest risk of exposure to monkeypox have urgent and equitable access to vaccine, testing, and treatment — particularly LGBTQ+ Black and Latino New Yorkers who have long borne the brunt of racism and its’ intergenerational impacts on access to and quality of health care,” Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the city’s health commissioner, wrote in a statement. “We have more to do, and since the start of our campaign have worked with community partners and trusted providers to meet people where they are, with the resources they need.”

The inequities are also occurring within borough residents.

In Queens, 14.4% of vaccines were administered to residents, who make up 16% of the population that may be currently eligible for vaccination by borough.

Meanwhile, according to the data, only 5.3% of doses administered to Bronx residents, which make up 10% of the population that are possibly eligible.

“We are deeply alarmed by the recent data released from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene revealing the stark disparities that exist in the administrating of Monkeypox vaccines to Black New Yorkers and vaccine-eligible residents in our borough,” Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said in a statement. “We need to understand the root causes reasons behind these disparities.”

As of Wednesday, over 63,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine were administered throughout New York City, which is more than any other city in the United States. Over 92% of all doses in the city that were administered to people who identify as LGBTQ, according to the data.

Due to the inequities of the vaccine, the department wrote in a statement that the city will award $5 million to over two dozen community-based organizations to promote monkeypox vaccination, while focusing on LGBTQ and BIPOC communities.

“These new data show that our efforts are making a difference, but that we must double down in order to realize equity in our vaccination campaign citywide,” Vasan continued. “And these new resources going directly to community partners will help us in this fight.”

As of Thursday, 2,548 people throughout the five boroughs have tested positive for presumed monkeypox.

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