Bronx, NY – On Friday, Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15) called on the city state and the federal governments to publish demographic data on monkeypox vaccinations. This comes after the monkeypox cases have exploded tenfold in the past month, and New York City is proving to be the epicenter to the monkeypox outbreak.
As of August 3, 2022, the CDC has reported 26,208 confirmed cases of monkeypox globally and 6,617 domestic cases. Additionally, New York state accounted for over 36 percent of all monkeypox cases in the United States with 1,666 cases. It can also be assumed that the case count is much higher, as detection and testing capabilities have been plagued with delayed results and an overall lack of information on the disease.
The concern is the barrier that low income and people of color face when it comes to access to vaccinations and overall healthcare. To ensure that the vaccine is being equitably distributed, vaccination demographic data must be collected and published. Without this data, it is feared that the historical tendency of low income and people of color not equitably receiving vaccinations is occurring.
In the letter, Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15) stated, “The government has an obligation not only to expand vaccine supply (which is lagging far behind demand) but also to ensure equity in vaccine distribution, which falls within the domain of state and local government. History tells us that we cannot trust the public health system to automatically serve the needs of the underserved: there should and must be transparency and accountability, and the public reporting of demographic data is critical to both.”
Given the scale of the monkeypox outbreak in New York, it is imperative that both the city and state governments begin to publicize demographic vaccination data and continue equitable mitigation efforts at every level to safeguard the health and wellbeing of every New Yorker.
Text of the letter is NYC and NYS here and the Federal letter is here.