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As monkeypox cases grow, Bronx borough president calls for a permanent sexual health clinic

NEW YORK — As monkeypox cases continue to climb, three mass vaccination sites are set to open Sunday in New York City.

The Bronx High School of Science, Aviation High School in Queens, and Bushwick Education in Brooklyn will all open Sunday to distribute the monkeypox vaccine, but the thing is, these sites will only be open for one day, so there's a lot of frustration surrounding access to the vaccine.

New York is now the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak with the number of cases increasing daily.

“We want the best for everyone around here,” Norwood resident Ou Espinal said.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson told CBS2's Alecia Reid she has been working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and is calling for a permanent sexual health clinic to be placed in the Bronx that will not only offer monkeypox testing, but antiviral treatments and other health services.

“We believe having our own dedicated site will provide continuity, as well as a level of comfort,” Gibson said.

She says whenever there's a health crisis, residents in the communities she serves are disproportionately affected.

“Because many Bronxites live with underlying health conditions, like heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, further exacerbated by a positive case of monkeypox,” Gibson said.

MONKEYPOX VACCINE

While more than 50 percent of cases are currently in Manhattan, Gibson says that can change in an instant.

“Every day more people don't get access to the vaccine, the number of cases will increase. We've seen that last week, every day there were more numbers of positive cases,” she said.

Bronx residents agree.

“We need resources out here in the Bronx to be able to combat and detect monkeypox before it becomes a problem because as far as I'm concerned, the rate is insane,” Espinal said.

“More people here need it than ever because the fact that you don't have the knowledge for it is so much more dangerous,” Norwood resident Diego Avila said.

Gibson says the current shortage of doses is a cause for concern, but there is hope on the horizon.

In addition to the 28,000 vaccine doses already sent to the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday night announced another 32,000 heading to New York next week.

Gibson says she will be meeting health professionals and groups from the community on Monday to talk about equitable distribution of the monkeypox vaccine.

On Sunday, she will be at the pop-up vaccination site in the Bronx, which she says was allotted 1,000 doses, like most of the other clinics. Vaccines will be available by appointment only.

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