The Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic, the only NYC Health STI testing clinic in Manhattan, served as an NYC Pride pop-up site for COVID-19 vaccinations from June 21-25.
The pop-up site required no appointments and welcomed walk-ins during Pride week. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccinations were offered to the people who participated. About 120 people were vaccinated every day of the pop-up event, according to Michael Lanza, the Deputy Press Secretary of NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The site was open for people celebrating and marching during the Pride protests and the week leading up to the march. The Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic pop-up was not the only vaccination pop-up site during Pride week.
A large vaccination pop-up site located in Union Square attracted lines of people waiting to get the vaccine. The pop-up even had photo opportunities like a giant cardboard cutout of the Statue of Liberty. There were separate stands and queue lines for the different vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). The Chelsea Sexual Health clinic was the only STI clinic to host a pop-up site in the city.
“Health Needs of Our Community”
Jeffrey Omura, an activist and labor leader running for City Council in District 6, spoke about the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic and the lack of such health clinics throughout Manhattan.
“As a gay man living in NYC, my own health needs and the health needs of our community are often left out of the New York City’s Department of Health priorities,” said Omura. “The Chelsea clinic can provide same-day results, but it’s the only one in the city. So, they can’t serve that many people. That’s a service that needs to be available everywhere because we have the technology. We just need to make sure we are funding it.”
After being closed for years for renovations and reconstruction, the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic reopened in 2018, offering HIV medications and more. Two years later, the clinic was forced to close again due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“All of our Sexual Health Clinics either temporarily closed for in-person services or pivoted to doing COVID-19 testing during the height of the pandemic,” said Lanza. “However, during that time, we provided telehealth and had a hotline for those seeking sexual health services and resources.”
The Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic has officially reopened for in-person appointments and is accepting all walk-ins.