By: Ilana Siyance
On Monday, Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, announced that all adult New Yorkers are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, provided they were vaccinated at least six months ago. “Clinicians should allow adult patients to determine their own risk of exposure, based on their individual circumstances,” the city’s top doctor said during the mayor’s virtual press briefing. “In practice, this means that providers should not turn a patient away if they request a booster.”
“There should be no barriers to accessing a booster shot,” Chokshi added. “We don’t want anyone turned away from a booster dose.” Previously, to be eligible for the booster, vaccinated New Yorkers needed to fall into one of the following categories: adult over 65; have pre-existing medical conditions; or an employee or residents of homeless shelters, nursing homes and hospitals, or health care workers who are at particularly high risk of contracting the virus, as per the Department of Health’s vaccine information web page. The new directive now allows everyone over 18 years of age to get the booster, as long as it’s been at least six months since their Moderna or Pfizer inoculation, or at least two months since their Johnson & Johnson jab.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it is safe and effective to mix and match vaccine doses from different brands, so a person who got the Pfizer vaccine can now get a Moderna or Johnson and Johnson booster and vice versa. A recent study showed that those who received a third booster shot had “substantially lower” rates of confirmed COVID-19 infection and severe illness, compared to their counterparts who did not receive a booster. As yet, 630,000 New Yorkers have chosen to get booster shot, to supplement their initial vaccine series, Chokshi said.
“We have a tool and it works and that’s booster shots,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during the news conference, held remotely from Brooklyn Borough Hall. “We got to lean into it more.” “Everyone, boosters work,” said de Blasio. “Go out and get ’em.”
Later on Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul followed up, recommending that all New York State residents who “feel at risk” of contracting COVID-19 go get a booster vaccine dose. “I am strongly encouraging all New Yorkers who live or work in a high-risk setting to get the booster,” she said. “I received the booster, and believe no one who feels they are at risk should be turned away from getting a COVID-19 booster shot.”