Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state health commissioner, announces in...

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state health commissioner, announces in Harlem on Thursday that vials of the state's monkeypox vaccines have been distributed to counties across New York. She is shown with Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the New York City health commissioner. Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes

Two more Suffolk residents have tested positive for monkeypox, bringing the county's total to three since the first reported case, on July 1.

That's of 153 total statewide, 27 more infections than a day earlier, according to figures posted Thursday by the state health department.

Most of the state's cases, 141, are in New York City, which the city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said is the nation's epicenter of the outbreak.

Earlier Thursday, the department said that more monkeypox vaccines have been delivered to Suffolk County — home to gay vacation spot Fire Island — than to anywhere else in New York outside of the city.

And it's Fire Island where the county is planning to open pop-up vaccine clinics beginning next week. 

At least 98% of those who have contracted monkeypox in the current global outbreak are men who have sex with men.

Of about 56,000 doses sent nationwide by the federal government, 8,195 vaccines — Jynneos, the safest of the two licensed in the United States — went to New York, which sent doses to localities. Suffolk got 750 and Nassau got 400, according to Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state health commissioner.

A room at a New York City health department sexual...

A room at a New York City health department sexual clinic in Harlem where the monkeypox shot is being given. Credit: Newsday/Matthew Chayes

The city got about 6,000 doses. The remainder went elsewhere in the state, including 450 to Westchester, 300 to Saratoga and 40 each to Rockland and Sullivan, she said.

Bassett said the state is also holding some doses in reserve for close contacts.

"The vaccinations have been sent out, so they're in freezers," Bassett said at a news conference in Harlem. "They have arrived and went directly" to local health departments.

While the vaccines are available in the city — appointments can be made online via nyc.gov/health/monkeypox — Bassett said the vaccines weren't yet available in places like Long Island.

"We're still working out the details of the moving from the freezers to shots in arms," Bassett said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is scheduled to give details about the vaccine rollout on Friday. It will include pop-up clinics beginning next week on Fire Island, including in Cherry Grove and the Pines, two historically gay communities.

The statewide allocations were made based on the population of those at risk for monkeypox and the presence of cases, Bassett said.

Dr. Raj Panjabi, the White House Pandemic Office coordinator, said supplies are currently scarce but the government would soon be allocating 144,000 more doses nationwide, including to New York. And over the next 12 months, the United States is expected to get 4 million more doses.

Although anyone can get monkeypox, 98% or 99% of the current cases in the outbreak, including the United States and Europe, are men who have sex with men, the epidemiologist Dr. Jay Varma has said.

Any man who has sex with other men via hookup apps, at sex parties or in other anonymous settings should get the vaccine, according to public health recommendations. The current risk to other groups is low.

“This is not affecting all New Yorkers equally. This is affecting a particular risk group,” said Vasan.

On July 1, Suffolk announced that the first case in the county was a Brookhaven resident. No further details were disclosed about that person,

On Fire Island during the deadly AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, communities like the Pines and the Grove were hit early and hard

The monkeypox outbreak, which is spread mostly by contact with lesions but also close, face-to-face contact, hasn’t killed anyone in the United States.

Although the virus isn’t generally lethal, and people recover from it, it’s nevertheless “an extremely unpleasant experience,” Bassett said, with painful lesions. Other symptoms can include fever, malaise, headache, sore throat and cough.

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