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Additional pop-up clinics for monkeypox vaccinations open in Hampton Bays, Bay Shore

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Pop-up clinics for monkeypox vaccine will be offered on Monday and Friday in Hampton Bays and Bay Shore.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone on Friday announced the next round of over 1,700 doses of the monkeypox vaccine — 500 doses will be used for the new clinics at Stony Brook Medicine’s Edie Windsor Healthcare Center and the Northwell Health community center at the Westfield Mall.

The Hampton Bays vaccination clinic will be held Monday, July 18 from noon to 7 p.m. and Friday, July 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Bay Shore clinic Wednesday, July 20. Appointments are required, and individuals must be eligible according to state guidelines.

Doses were administered at clinics on Fire Island starting last week through the weekend in Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines.

As of Friday, there are over 410 cases of monkeypox in New York, including four cases in Suffolk County and 3 in Nassau County.

Last week, Bellone said there was high demand for the vaccine.

“When appointments for these clinics opened up on Monday, we weren't sure what the demand would be for the vaccine,” Bellone said. “But with appointments filling up within the first few hours, it made it clear that our residents wanted to get vaccinated to protect themselves and to protect their community.”

Anyone with recent exposure to monkeypox within the past 14 days, those at high risk of exposure, which includes members of the LBGTQ community, or anyone who has had skin-to-skin contact with someone with monkeypox are eligible to make an appointment for the vaccine.

“As we continue our vaccination efforts, it's extremely important to encourage those who are at high risk to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Annabella Salvador, the deputy chief medical officer at Northwell Health. “In addition, it is important to continue to educate the public regarding this disease and encourage everyone to take preventative measures in order to keep people safe. Remember, full immunity is not achieved until two weeks after your second vaccination. So preventative measures are important here.”

Monkeypox spreads through close physical touch, and direct exposure to bodily fluids, like saliva. Symptoms can be flu-like with a rash that looks like blisters on the inside of the mouth or other parts of the body including hands, feet and chest.

Officials recommend washing clothing or linens that have come into contact with any infectious rash or body fluids. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

Anyone can spread the disease with close contact, but cases are seen more in gay and bisexual men, according to health experts. LGBTQ advocates have cautioned against stigmatizing the gay community.

“We want to make sure anyone who wants to can get the vaccination,” Bellone said. “We're encouraging that and our goal here is to contain this spread and to make sure that this is not something that goes further.”

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new SMS-text notification last week to deliver the latest monkeypox information directly to New Yorkers.

Text messages will include alerts about cases, symptoms, spread and resources for testing and vaccinations. New Yorkers can sign up by texting "MONKEYPOX" to 81336 or "MONKEYPOXESP" for texts in Spanish. By providing a zip code, New Yorkers can also opt-in for location-based messages.

For more information about monkeypox, visit health.ny.gov/monkeypox.

Natalie Discenza is a Sacred Heart News Fellow at WSHU. She is a native of Syracuse, New York.