New Yorkers who received the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can use a new state website dedicated to reserve appointments to get a booster virus shots at several locations statewide, officials said Monday.
New Yorkers ages 65 years old and older who completed their Pfizer’s vaccine series at least six months ago can search the availability of booster doses on the state’s new website to secure an additional dose at ny.gov/boosters.
“My friends, there is an end in sight and we’ve been given the approval to have this booster shot, which will save even more lives,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.
Health experts on the state’s Clinical Advisory Task Force wrote a letter to the state Health Department commissioner Friday to endorse a statement from U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky to give a third COVID booster dose to four groups of New Yorkers.
Hochul announced her administration’s outreach plan to distribute the additional doses this fall during a briefing at the Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx.
“It was very, very good news to know that the CDC, the FDA, did approve the booster shot — something we know how to get into people’s arms,” the governor said.
Booster shots are available to New York residents between 50 and 64 years old with underlying medical conditions. The qualifying conditions, according to the CDC, include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung diseases, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, down syndrome, heart conditions like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, AIDS, liver disease, being overweight or obese, pregnancy, sickle cell disease or thalassemia, current and former smokes, people who had an organ or blood stem cell transplant, stroke, substance abuse disorders or a weakened immune system due to genetic defects and other immune-weakening medications.
Only people who received the Pfizer vaccine are eligible for additional doses. No decisions have been made about boosters for those who received Moderna’s two-shot or Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.
Text 438829 to find a location with available COVID booster shots in your area.
“This is our best defense right now and I’m really hoping that people heed the call,” Hochul said. “...Let’s change that dynamic — if you were hesitant in the early months, enough time has lapsed. [The vaccine] has been amazingly successful in saving lives. It works and we want everyone to know we value their lives. We want them to be healthy and not end up in a hospital or worse. So please, please, please get your vaccination.”
Booster shots are available in thousands of pharmacies, local health departments, federal health centers, state-run mass vaccination sites, including the New York State Fairgrounds and other locations.
New Yorkers who completed Pfizer’s COVID vaccine earlier this year may receive an additional booster dose based on a provider’s assessment of your individual health risks. Patients ages 18-49 years old with underlying medical conditions or people 18-64 years old who have a high-risk occupation or work in a high-risk setting may also be eligible, according to the CDC and governor’s office.
Anyone ages 18 and older in a nursing home or long-term care facility is also eligible for an additional shot to boost COVID-19-fighting antibodies.
First responders — such as health care workers, firefighters, police and congregate care staff —, teachers and education staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing employees, corrections and prison staff, and workers in public transit, at grocery stores or the U.S. Postal Service are immediately eligible to receive a COVID booster shot, according to the CDC.
Representatives with the CDC have said the agency will continue to review and add to the list of eligible underlying conditions and at-risk occupations.
Hochul expressed hope Monday the U.S. Food & Drug Administration will soon approve Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccines for children under age 12.
The COVID vaccine will be added to the state’s list of required inoculations for a student to attend New York schools.
“We want to make sure you’re protected,” Hochul said. “...but let’s get people vaccinated because I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of talking about COVID.”
More than 83.7% of New York adults have received at least one vaccine dose against COVID-19, or 70.9% of all state residents, according to the CDC on Monday.
At least 75.1% of New Yorkers ages 18 and older have completed a COVID vaccine series
SOMOS Community Care co-founder Dr. Henry R. Muñoz III said Monday hundreds of the organization’s medical volunteers have inoculated millions of New Yorkers over the last several months.
“The only way to get back to work is for us to work together to make sure that people are tested and vaccinated and that they get the booster,” Muñoz said. “It makes us sad that, in the last year, we have fed more than 2 million meals to people who needed food. That means we’re not healthy. Get the vaccine, get tested, let’s take care of each other so that all of us can go back to being a family and building back a healthy New York.”
Tribune News Service contributed to this report.