On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mondaine Jones (D-N.Y.) announced on his Twitter that he received his second dose of the monkeypox (MPV) vaccine.
In the tweet and accompanying video, Jones discussed how the virus impacts LGBTQ+ folks and communities of color particularly hard. He also said he received his second dose of the vaccine from the Westchester Medical Center’s drive-through clinic in Valhalla and noted the importance of getting vaccinated to help stop the spread.
Jones is currently in his first term representing New York’s 17th District. When he was elected in 2020 and sworn in at the beginning of 2021, he became one of the first two openly gay Black members of Congress alongside Rep. Ritchie Torres. Sadly, Jones lost his primary this year when redistricting changed the make-up of his district.
While growing up in Section 8 housing and being raised by a single mother, Jones kept his sexuality quiet as he grew his political resume. It wasn’t until Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange album release in 2012 that Jones felt comfortable revealing his true identity to friends and family. Having never seen a role model in Congress that was both Black and gay, he chose to become that role model for himself and eventually made history with his election.
The spread of MPV has caused concern by many, but in an age of social media, tweets like this from government officials help keep people informed about vaccinations and ways they can protect themselves. Responses to Jones’s tweets indicate that some people were unaware a vaccine even existed and thanked him for allowing them to know where they could get one.
Although MPV cases have been on the decline over the last month, MPV remains a threat, especially for communities of color. As more and more vaccination clinics and centers become available, it is imperative that those who have a platform to share information use it to help others.