New contractor to manage NYC’s monkeypox vaccination

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NEW YORK — The city has tapped a new contractor to administer New York’s monkeypox vaccines, after the last provider botched appointment scheduling.

Medical services company Affiliated Physicians will take over from walk-in clinic chain MedRite when the city resumes taking appointments on Tuesday — and handle things moving forward, according to reps from City Hall and the health department.

Appointment seekers who visited MedRite’s online portal on Wednesday were mostly met with technical glitches before the website went down. Some 2,400 New Yorkers were able to make appointments for the 6,000 doses available, leaving many more confused about how to secure a dose. Officials have said they always planned to only make a limited number of the 6,000 available Wednesday, but never publicly articulated that before the website began acting up.

New Yorkers who attempted to book monkeypox vaccinations during the city’s first rollout in late June were also left frustrated by MedRite, which at the time managed the phone booking system and failed to log some patients’ appointments into the online system.

The city initially contracted MedRite to support its Covid vaccination program. The city’s original $5 million contract with the company skyrocketed to $36 million to support the monkeypox vaccination campaign, the New York Post reported.

Health department spokesperson Patrick Gallahue said that the city’s health department also has an existing contract with Affiliated Physicians and confirmed that the company will handle monkeypox vaccine appointments instead of MedRite going forward.

Amid high demand, an additional 1,250 online appointments will be made available to eligible New Yorkers on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Individuals will be able to book an appointment at one of the three temporary vaccine clinics in Central Harlem, Chelsea and Corona, Queens.

The city is also expected to receive an additional 14,500 doses from the federal government, and more information on how the city will administer its coming supply is expected later this week.

As of Monday, 223 New Yorkers had tested positive for orthopoxvirus, the virus that causes monkeypox — more than double the case count since last Tuesday. The virus, which can cause painful rashes and sores, is spread through close contact and continues to primarily affect gay and bisexual men.

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