BET À DAY
With tables and chairs lined up and medical equipment, the gymnasium at a Brooklyn high school is reminiscent of an anti-COVID vaccination center: but it was for monkey pox that it opened Sunday in New York, the American “epicenter” of the viral disease.
Outside in the Bushwick neighborhood, a long queue formed on the sidewalk, for a very large majority of men aged between 20 and 40, eager to protect those around them and avoid monkeypox, its rashes and pain.
Everyone AFP interviewed felt lucky, as it was difficult to get an appointment on the city's dedicated website, which lacks doses. On Friday, 9,200 slots were released at 6 p.m. and were gone in seven minutes. Three days earlier, the traffic was so bad that it overwhelmed the site and brought it down.
The city of more than 8 million people has seen contamination rise last week, with 461 cases listed on Friday since the disease first appeared in the United States in May, compared to 223 on Monday.
“ It's frustrating, especially because with COVID, you would have thought there would be a more structured process for rolling out vaccines, but there really wasn't a process,” said Aidan Baglivo, an analyst at 23-year-old data, for whom the people most connected to social networks are privileged.
“That shouldn't be a problem, because there is already a vaccine, and every day that there are not more people vaccinated is wasted,” laments Robert, 28. He himself was able to have a date, refreshing the page “like a crazy”, but not his companion or his best friend.
Anyone can get monkeypox, which is spread through close contact, but the Jynneos vaccine is currently restricted to men who have sex with men, the vast majority of cases. This is enough to fuel fears that the LGBTQ community, of which New York is one of the capitals, will be further stigmatized and that the virus will become “a gay disease” in people's minds.
Monkey pox (“monkeypox in English), “it's really a scary name,” dreads Robert.
For Nathan Tylutki, a 42-year-old actor, “maybe there would be an answer to develop more vaccines if it didn't affect queer people”. According to him, there will be few anti-vaccines in this community, “because we have seen the diseases, we know what AIDS is”.
Monkey pox usually cures spontaneously, but it is characterized by rashes — which can appear on the genitals or in the mouth — and can be accompanied by bouts of fever, sore throats and sometimes severe pain.
The megalopolis of the American east coast counts 21,500 doses of vaccines already injected or appointments made and it hopes to be able to accelerate with the promise of more than 30,000 vaccines for the entire State of New York, of which it should receive a good part. But for lack of doses, the Bushwick site was not due to reopen on Monday.
“We need tens of thousands of doses,” insisted the city’s health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, on Sunday.< /p>
In the queue, Leroy Jackson, a fitness instructor from 27 years old, has another concern.
“I must be the only one or maybe we are two or three black people in this queue”, out of more than a hundred people waiting, notes- he, raising the issue of access to appointments for minorities and the less privileged.