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Governor urges New Yorkers to get booster; provides update on state's ongoing response to COVID-19 cases in New York
Gov. Kathy Hochul offered the following comments on Monday:
Good morning and thank you for joining us this morning at the Javits Center, excited to be here to help pack 3,200 turkeys that'll be distributed at 20 locations around the state of New York. I'm really proud of the effort that's going on here; the National Guard they're there for us, whether it's feeding the hungry or stopping the raging floodwaters. I want to thank all the members of the National Guard and my team who've joined us here today, members of our cabinet.
Before I answer questions, I want to talk a little bit about COVID and where we are in our response. As you know, we are heading into a very vulnerable time. I've talked about this now for a solid month about the spike that we anticipate during the holiday season.
The good news compared from last year to this year, is that we now have the weapons to fight back – and that is why I've deployed my team to ensure that we have plentiful vaccinations available. Thirteen mass-vax sites have reopened. We have pop-up sites all over the state, nearly 200 pop-up sites to take the vaccine and the boosters right out to the communities, focusing on getting the vaccinations available in schools.
And to this end, I pledged my support with the local governments. Just got off a call speaking to all the county executives this weekend and heard from them what they're looking for, the help they need from us, and how we can do even more together.
So, in terms of where we are. Yes. In terms of the national comparison, we're No. 3 in the nation, in terms of having the highest number of adults over 18, having at least one vaccination or fully vaccinated, that's a great statistic, but we're not resting on that.
We also know that we are heading into a time when families will be gathering, Thanksgiving just around the corner, the December holidays, New Year's Eve, and we know that people naturally want to get back together. The good news is they can, and they should, if they're vaccinated and they have that booster shot. I'm also concerned by the number of people who are resisting, getting their booster shot right now, intending to at some point, because they don't want to feel sick from the booster shot for the holidays.
Let me be very clear, it is far worse to contract COVID over the holidays than it is to have to deal with the effects of your booster shot. There's still time now; the booster shot starts working almost immediately, and that's why we're encouraging people to get that booster shot that's available.
There's no excuse. There's plenty available. We've ordered home testing kits throughout the state as well. We've been doing this a long time with our own employees in the state of New York.
We have a multifaceted approach, but again, warning everyone, we're going to continue see spikes go up. I want to make sure that we know that if you've been vaccinated and you catch COVID, the infection, your symptoms are dramatically less than they would have been. It's far better to deal with that than to be among the thousands of people who are hospitalized because they chose not to get the vaccine. The percentage of people who are vaccinated and hospitalized is minuscule compared to the number of people who are hospitalized because they chose not to get the vaccine.
And again, this is a personal choice. There are no excuses. We've made sure that there's plenty of supply at multiple sources. And so I'm encouraging everyone. Please get the booster; please get the vaccination if you've not been vaccinated. If you've had one dose, get the second one. What are you waiting for? We're going to be sending out text messages to everyone who had the first dose, but has not had their second yet.
And again, all the school-aged children can be protected. Let's make sure that their holidays are not ruined with them coming down with the case of COVID or a classroom having to be sent home because of this. So, just want to make sure everybody's up to date on that.
We're monitoring, particularly hotspot counties, very closely.