Statements and Letters

Monkeypox Advocacy Letters and Mayor Statements

July 2022

Other Recent Statements

July 2022

NYC Health Department on Monkeypox Vaccine Appointments

"All available monkeypox vaccine appointments have been filled. Operations went smoothly. Nine thousand two hundred appointments opened at 6:00 PM and were filled by 6:07 PM. Vaccine supply continues to be extremely limited, and we are working to get vaccine to New Yorkers as soon as possible. In addition to the appointments that went online today, we will continue to receive appointments for people referred by community partner organizations serving highest-risk patients. We will advise New Yorkers when more appointments can be made. People can sign up for text notifications to receive alerts about monkeypox in NYC, including appointment releases, by texting MONKEYPOX to 692692 or MONKEYPOXESP for alerts in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. We look forward to receiving more doses soon to provide to New Yorkers."

Statement from the NYC Health Department on Monkeypox Vaccine Appointments

"All available monkeypox vaccine appointment slots have been booked. Due to overwhelming traffic, as soon as appointments went online this afternoon, the site delivered error messages for many people who were unable to make appointments. This is just further proof that demand is very high, and we will continue working to make vaccine available. We will advise New Yorkers when more appointments can be made. We apologize for the frustration caused and are working to build stable appointment infrastructure as we roll out more appointments as vaccine supply increases in the coming weeks. We look forward to receiving more doses in the near future to provide to New Yorkers."

June 2022

Statement from NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan on Supreme Court EPA Decision

"Today’s Supreme Court’s decision undermines the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to address CO2 (greenhouse gas) emissions from power plants, curbing its ability to combat climate change and threatening public health. Impacts from power plant emissions are not limited by State boundaries and, left unchecked, one state’s emissions will contribute to public health harms throughout the United States and the globe. Already, extreme heat kills more Americans than any other form of extreme weather, and more lives will be lost without concerted efforts to address the climate crisis. In New York City alone, increasingly hot weather due to climate change results in about 370 deaths every summer, inequitably affecting people of color. Most Americans support federal action on climate change: Protecting public health and addressing the impacts of systemic racism also demands a focus on democracy."

Health Department Update on Monkeypox Vaccine

The demand we’re seeing today is further proof of how proactive the LGBTQ+ community — and all New Yorkers — are when it comes to their health and seeking healthcare. New York City is among the first in the nation to offer monkeypox vaccinations and as of this afternoon, all available appointments are booked through Monday. We hope to make more appointments available soon. We are in talks with the CDC to obtain more doses and are looking into how we can boost our capacity citywide. We urge New Yorkers to check our website for more information. Health care is a human right, and the Department remains a committed partner in protecting the health of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.

May 2022

Health Department Update on Possible Monkeypox Cases in New York City

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Public Health Lab has tested specimens from two patients under investigation for possible monkeypox. One case has been ruled out and another has been identified as positive for Orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses to which monkeypox belongs. Confirmation for monkeypox is pending CDC testing.

The patient is isolating, and — treating this case as a presumptive positive until confirmed — the Health Department is carrying out contact tracing.

Masks can protect against monkeypox, as well as other viruses circulating in New York City, such as COVID-19. The Department continues to recommend masks in public indoor settings. As a precaution, any New Yorkers who experience flu-like illness with swelling of the lymph nodes and rashes on the face and body should contact their health care provider.

Monkeypox is rare but can spread through close contact with an infected person or animal. This includes via respiratory droplets — usually after prolonged contact — body fluids or other forms of close contact, such as sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by someone who is infectious.

NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan on NYC's Increased Risk Alert Level

“New York City has transitioned to a high Covid alert level, meaning now is the time to double down on protecting ourselves and each other by making choices that can keep our friends, neighbors, relatives and coworkers from getting sick. As a city, we have the tools to blunt the impact of this wave, including distributing tests, masks and promoting treatments. Getting back to Low Risk depends on everyone doing their part and if we follow guidance, our forecasts anticipate this wave’s peak will not last long. What we do now can make all the difference.”

NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan on NYC Entering a New Risk Alert Level

"With COVID-19 cases rising, NYC has entered the Medium risk alert level. Cases have now surpassed a rate of 200 per 100,000 people in the five boroughs. As a practical matter, what this means for New Yorkers is that they must exercise even greater caution than they have the last few weeks. If you are at a higher risk for severe disease due to age, underlying health conditions or because you are unvaccinated, consider additional precautions such as avoiding crowded indoor gatherings. We continue to strongly recommend all New Yorkers wear a mask in public indoor settings. Get tested before and after any gatherings, and if you test positive, call your doctor or 212-COVID19 to get evaluated for treatment. Vaccination and boosters are as critical as ever. If you’re eligible for your booster, please, get the dose now. The coming weeks will be critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and getting back to a Low risk level so we can more safely enjoy our spring. And remember, the steps you take to protect yourself also protect others, especially those most vulnerable. As a city, we have the tools we need to beat back this virus. As New Yorkers, we are in this together. By incorporating these steps into our daily lives, we can continue to look out for one another and ourselves."

April 2022

Holiday Message from NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan

“Holidays are a time of togetherness, love and reflection. We wish everyone a happy and — most of all — healthy holiday. To stay safe, the Health Department strongly recommends masking in public indoor settings, especially when in groups where other people’s vaccination status is unknown. We also strongly recommend people get a COVID test before and after attending any gatherings, and certainly before choosing to remove your mask at a holiday gathering. Encourage your friends and loved ones you will see this weekend to get tested as well before you gather. To find a testing site near you, or where to obtain an at-home test kit, go to or call 311. The Health Department wishes all New Yorkers joy, togetherness and good health.”

March 2022

Statement from Dr. Ashwin Vasan on Beginning Tenure as 44th NYC Health Commissioner

"Public health is deeply personal to me, and my experiences have prepared me to confront this critical moment. COVID-19 has further exposed deep inequities that have resulted in far too much taken from far too many New Yorkers. But the knowledge and skills within public health hold the keys to finally redressing these intergenerational injustices, by addressing both upstream and downstream drivers of health. This pandemic has also left our city with physical and emotional wounds that will fester and spread if we do not act now, with focus and intent. Our recovery must be centered on equity, fairness and addressing the mental health needs of our city. I look forward to getting started as Commissioner of one of the most esteemed health departments in the country, and the world."

Statements Archive