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Hochul updates New Yorkers on new COVID-19 vaccine, urges precautions as cases rise


Wed, Sep 13th 2023 09:45 pm

Updated vaccine targets COVID-19 omicron subvariants effective against newer strains

√ CDC recommends vaccine for all New Yorkers ages 6 months and older who are two months past last vaccine

√ Hochul: New Yorkers also encouraged to get their annual flu shot, in addition to updated COVID vaccine, and to ask providers about RSV vaccine

Gov. Kathy Hochul updated New Yorkers on the CDC’s approval last night of an updated COVID-19 vaccine, and urged New Yorkers to get the shot once it is available later this week. The 2023-24 vaccine, previously authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration, is expected to be available at pharmacies and physicians’ offices, as well as other health care providers, throughout New York in the coming days.

“The vaccine has always been the best way to protect yourself and your community against COVID-19, and this updated vaccine addresses newer strains of the virus that are currently circulating,” Hochul said. “As we enter the fall season, when respiratory viruses circulate, it is vital that New Yorkers consider getting this updated vaccine to protect themselves from this still dangerous virus.”

Hochul’s team said, “The updated vaccine, necessary due to waning immunity and mutated variants, was reformulated and developed in recent months following the FDA decision to target a subvariant of omicron, called XBB.1.5. According to CDC, more than 90% of the COVID viruses circulating are closely related to that strain, with tests showing the updated vaccine effective at increasing immunity to a more recent variant, called BA.2.86.”

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “As we head into the fall and winter months, and once again see an uptick in COVID across the state, I urge all New Yorkers to remember that COVID is a treatable disease, and we now have an updated vaccine that will help reduce your chance of serious illness and hospitalization. Remember, it’s about personal protection, personal prevention, and personal wellness.”

The updated COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months or older who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months to protect against potentially serious illness from COVID-19.

Recommended dosages vary dependent on age and COVID-19 vaccine history:

√ Children 6 months through 4 years, who are getting the vaccine for the first time, should get two doses of a Moderna vaccine or three doses of a Pfizer vaccine.

√ Children 6 months through 4 years who have been previously vaccinated should get just one dose of either updated vaccine.

√ Those 5 through 11 are eligible to receive a single dose of the updated vaccine at least two months after their last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine regardless of previous vaccination.

√ Those 12 and older who have been previously vaccinated are recommended to get a single dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna updated vaccine.

√ Those 12 and older who have not been previously vaccinated are recommended to get a two-shot series.

√ Those who have been infected with COVID-19 within the last two months should speak with a health care provider.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans will cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines, without the need for co-pays. Those who are uninsured, or whose insurance does not cover the updated vaccine, will have access to the shots free of charge through community health centers; local, tribal or territorial health departments; and pharmacies participating in the HHS’ Bridge Access Program.

Hochul’s team added, “Those getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine are also encouraged to ask their health care provider about other vaccines, including flu and RSV.

“Individuals who have symptoms should test for COVID-19, and those who test positive should contact their health care provider about possible treatments, which have been shown effective at reducing the chances of serious outcomes. New Yorkers who are immunocompromised, have lung or cardiovascular irregularities, or other risk-factors, and those who are seniors, are especially encouraged to discuss COVID-19 treatments with a health care professional. Those who test positive should also avoid contact with others, including staying home from work, school and social activities.

“At-home COVID-19 tests remain available at many local pharmacies statewide, and New York continues to make high-quality N-95 masks and test kits available to state and county officials by request. New Yorkers should contact their respective county health department or local emergency management office for more information. New Yorkers can also find the current COVID-19 vaccine sites here.

“Under Gov. Hochul’s leadership, New York state continues to take strong actions to monitor and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These steps came after COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York increased this summer and following the detection of BA.2.86 in New York City wastewater.

“The New York State Department of Health and Wadsworth Center continue the vital strategies of wastewater surveillance and laboratory clinical analysis, conducted with partners at Syracuse University and across the state, to understand variant spread and the potential impact on public health.”

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