Who in New York Can Get Free COVID Vaccine Booster
Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed four groups of New Yorkers are now eligible for a COVID vaccine booster.
On Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced what describes as a robust implementation of booster doses into the State's COVID-19 vaccination program, ensuring 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," Hochul 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, September 24 by Director Walensky - providing New York with a new boost in the fight against COVID-19.
In accordance with CDC's recommendations, 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 your individual benefits and risks.
- They are 18 - 64 years and are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of your occupational or institutional setting, based on your 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 Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not currently eligible for a booster dose at this time, but maybe in the near future, officials say.
"The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be remarkably effective at preventing severe cases and hospitalization," New York 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."
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 State's Excelsior Pass platform.
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