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New York City Council's LGBTQ caucus introduces legislation calling for increased monkeypox vaccine availability

CBS New York logo CBS New York 8/12/2022 CBS New York

NEW YORK -- As cases of monkeypox increase across the country, so are the calls for a change in the way the vaccine is distributed.

As CBS2's Astrid Martinez reports, new legislation was introduced in New York by the City Council's LGBTQ caucus Thursday.

WEB EXTRA: Identifying monkeypox symptoms, prevention tips, how to get a vaccine and more

Emergency orders declared. Long lines of people waiting hours for a monkeypox vaccine. New York City residents detailing their struggles to get a shot.

"I was trying so hard to get the vaccine last week, and if I was able to get it last week, I may not have been as sick as I was," monkeypox patient Jeff Galaise told CBS2.

A bumpy roll out of the monkeypox vaccine has state and local leaders demanding federal action.

In a tweet, council member Crystal Hudson announced on Thursday the introduction of legislation calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to increase the availability of monkeypox vaccines in New York City.

The legislation would require officials to focus on the equitable distribution of vaccines, especially among LGBTQ+ communities.

"It's extremely important. This is a package with, you know, lots of urgency. We're seeing what we can do to move these through the health committee as quickly as possible," Hudson told CBS2.

New legislation proposed to increase vaccine availability in NYC 01:02 © Provided by CBS New York New legislation proposed to increase vaccine availability in NYC 01:02

"The experience of our clinic offering vaccinations has been seen across the country. Demand for vaccination is immense," said Dr. Kevin Ard, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Health Clinic.


Video: Frustration grows over monkeypox vaccine supply (CBS News)

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This week, FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf explained that administering the shot just under the top layer of the skin instead of the traditional method requires only a fraction of the vaccine, which would stretch the nation's limited supply.

"This will increase the total number of doses available for use by up to fivefold," he said.

RELATED STORY: As monkeypox spreads, how can you avoid catching it?

But the maker of the monkeypox vaccine is raising concerns about the FDA's decision to change how the shots are given.

In a letter, Bavarian Nordic wrote the new approach "results in increased reactogenicity" and this "may have a negative impact on vaccine uptake and coverage."

In a series of tweets Thursday, the FDA commissioner defended the agency's decision, saying the new dosing regimen resulted in some side effects but they were manageable.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 10,000 cases of the virus nationwide, clinicians are also calling on federal health officials to make it easier to prescribe the antiviral treatment known as TPOXX.

Meanwhile, the maker of the monkeypox vaccine also said it is testing the potency of older batches and hopes to use around 1 million doses that have technically expired.

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