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Hochul announces COVID-19 booster doses for eligible New Yorkers


Mon, Sep 27th 2021 01:05 pm

New York state endorses CDC's recommendations to ensure those at-risk can stay protected from virus for longer

√ Launches implementation & outreach plan to ensure availability, accessibility of booster doses statewide, including a new dedicated booster website: NY.gov/Boosters

√ New Yorkers can stay up to date with all recommended vaccines this fall – including all recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine & seasonal flu shot

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced a “robust” implementation of booster doses into the state's COVID-19 vaccination program, ensuring what her team called “an efficient, equitable and effective distribution of booster doses to eligible New Yorkers statewide.”

"Our top priority remains staying ahead of this constantly changing virus and protecting New Yorkers with effective, long-lasting vaccines," she said. "As we've heard from our federal and state medical and health experts – as with many other vaccines – the protection from the COVID-19 vaccine can wane over time. A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will help particularly at-risk New Yorkers stay protected from the virus for longer. While the focus of our vaccination effort remains ensuring all unvaccinated New Yorkers get vaccinated, those who are booster eligible should waste no time receiving maximum protection from COVID-19 as soon as possible."

In a letter to the health commissioner, the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force endorsed CDC's statement issued Friday, Sept. 24, by Director Rochelle Walensky – providing New York with a new boost in the fight against COVID-19. In accordance with CDC's recommendations, Hochul’s team said there are four groups of New Yorkers who are now eligible for their COVID-19 booster dose:

•New Yorkers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should receive their booster dose at least six months after their primary vaccine series IF:

√ They are 65 years and older or residents in long-term-care settings.

√ They are 50-64 years of age with underlying medical conditions.

•New Yorkers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may receive their COVID-19 booster dose at least six months after their primary vaccine series IF:

√ They are 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions, based on individual benefits and risks.

√ They are 18-64 years and are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, based on individual benefits and risks.

At this time, individuals must have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for their initial vaccine series at least six months ago to be eligible. Individuals who received the Moderna or Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine are not currently eligible for a booster dose at this time, but may be in the near future.

"The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be remarkably effective at preventing severe cases and hospitalization," Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. "After reviewing data from New York state, across the United States and around the world, our federal and state health experts including New York State's Clinical Advisory Committee agree: More vulnerable New Yorkers can keep their protection up by getting a booster dose at least six months after they complete their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series. Eligible New Yorkers should receive their booster dose or consult with their primary health care provider if they have questions. There are many vaccines that require more than one or two doses for lasting protecting, including the tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella, and hepatitis A and B shots."

A press release noted, “The state has been actively planning for the development of booster doses and, because of this preparedness, free booster doses are already widely available statewide at state-run mass vaccination sites, pharmacies, local health departments, clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other locations across New York state.”

As part of these efforts, the state launched a new website with dedicated information about booster doses, additional doses, eligibility, frequently asked questions, and resources for providers on the ground to support in the dissemination of information to eligible populations. The state will be supporting outreach to all eligible New Yorkers, including through email and SMS-based messages, traditional and digital marketing efforts, and local notifications to fully vaccinated New Yorkers through the Excelsior Pass platform.

Additionally, Hochul recently announced $65 million in funding to county health departments to “build the infrastructure needed to support the quick and reliable distribution of booster doses.” The governor also authorized EMTs to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, immediately adding more than 2,000 fully trained vaccinators into the state's program. An additional 50,000 basic EMTs will be able to receive the required training in order to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses.

The state also reminds New Yorkers to receive all seasonal vaccines during this time – including flu vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine and/or a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can be received at the same time as the seasonal flu shot, including at some primary health care providers' offices, as well as some local county health department clinics and pharmacies.

Hochul’s team said, “At this time, only eligible New Yorkers should receive their COVID-19 booster dose. New York state will continue to follow the science and communicate openly with New Yorkers as additional data becomes available.”

All New York state mass-vaccination sites are now open to booster-eligible New Yorkers. To schedule an appointment, visit the “Am I Eligible” page or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX. People may also contact their local health department, pharmacy or doctor to schedule appointments where vaccines are available. New Yorkers can also visit vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find nearby locations. New Yorkers should make sure nearby providers are administering booster doses when scheduling their appointments.

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