As Pines Party Approaches, Monkeypox Vaccines In NYC Are Crucial

As New York City tries to catch up with the burgeoning monkeypox outbreak, vaccines remain thoroughly in demand throughout New York City’s gay community (after a beyond embarrassing rollout of the vaccine website). Residents like Matt Ford have spoken out about their experiences, and the Alegria circuit party was just cancelled out of precaution. According to the NYC Health Department, there are now 461 cases of monkeypox in the city, (more than 30% of the recorded cases of monkeypox per the CDC). With Pride month (and the accompanying parties) and now the summer in full swing, a Twitter user named TheKingOfReads shared a thread late last week where he shared words from someone “anonymous” regarding the disparities on vaccine availability based on race. 

The CDC has released their own recommendations regarding monkeypox and with travel ramping up during what many are considering our first “real” summer since the COVID-19 pandemic, diligently following the guidelines the CDC’s suggestions is once again, posing a challenge. Bear Week in Provincetown just wrapped up, and one of the first messages on a Bear Week P-Town Facebook group came from a group member who indicated that he had tested positive for monkeypox (via the Provincetown Urgent Care) and that they were seeing “several cases per day”. Additionally concerns are already arising about the legendary Pines Party, scheduled to be held on the shores of the Fire Island Pines July 22nd through 24th.

I exclusively talked to noted DJ/Producer Corey Craig (who has also been healthcare professional as a pharmacist for twenty-seven years). Craig had his own thoughts on the vaccine rollout, how race may play into it, and what he thinks we should do going forward as it relates to the monkeypox vaccine. First he was quick to point out that placing blame on Fire Island is not the route we should be taking. Craig said “Instead of taking every opportunity to vilify somewhere that you don’t feel comfortable, consider this; 700 doses was all that Fire Island got, compared to the 14,000 doses that we are all fighting for in the city. Don’t act like the CDC is giving a Hunger Games drone drop to Fire Island like it is a party favor. 700 doses is really all that Suffolk County got that is because Northwell Health is based out of Long Island and they wanted to go out to the island and give those doses, They are trying to meet us where we are, but with too few vaccinations”. 

 Craig is also aware that race will continue to be brought into the conversation, and that includes his own race and what many feel his perspective “should” be. Craig though, is unwavering and continues to focus on the much larger issue at hand; the actual distribution vaccine doses. While Craig definitely sees the issues involving race possibly coming into play for both the Harlem and Queens clinics, he believes that the messaging can be delivered without disparaging the 700 doses that Suffolk County New York received. “That might be all they asked for; we don’t know if that is all they got, but that might be all that they asked for” Craig also sent his own tweets to NYC Healthy regarding their vaccine website failings. 

 

Craig’s thoughts on the monkeypox vaccine seem to also focus less on placing blame and more on finding a way to move forward, keeping as many New Yorker’s safe in the process. As a healthcare worker, Craig was quick to point out that “we don’t even have access as healthcare people to the monkeypox vaccine”. which did not happen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Craig stated that “there are a lot of people of color working in the hospital. If we want to talk about disparity. talk about where we work and where we are. I can’t even get it, even healthcare workers are not able to get the vaccine. There are all these ways that we have been failed and we need to roll them all up together and say that it was a massive fail on all parts, on all facets of the diamond that is gay New York, it was a massive failure. we look better as an argument together than picking each other apart about who got what. Because we still got nothing”

Art Courtesy-Fire Island Pines (Instagram)

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