NYC clears way for all adults to get COVID booster shots: ‘We don’t want anyone turned away’

Christina Gerald holds hands with her daughter, IO Gerald, 10, as she receives the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination pop-up site at P.S. 19 on Nov. 8 in the Lower East Side in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS

NEW YORK — It’s high time to give the vaccine another shot.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration cleared the way Monday for all adults in the city to receive a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine as colder weather threatens to bring a wave of new infections.

With the city’s COVID-19 case count already on the upswing, city Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said he’s issuing an official advisory instructing all health care providers in the five boroughs to offer the extra booster dose to any adult who wants one.

“There should be no barriers to accessing a booster shot, provided that someone is an adult, meaning 18 or older,” Chokshi said. “We don’t want anyone turned away from a booster dose, and we want to prioritize those whom we know will most benefit from it.”

Mayor de Blasio, who received his own booster shot last month, echoed Chokshi’s sentiment and said the city’s expanded eligibility is in compliance with federal guidelines.

“The more people get booster shots the better, and we should take the broadest interpretation, most inclusive interpretation of who qualifies to ensure that people who want it get it and are not turned away,” the mayor said.

Previously, recipients of the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines could only get booster shots if they were older than 65 or suffering from underlying health conditions that put them at high risk of suffering severe complications from COVID-19. Any Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipient older than 18 have been able to get a booster since last month.

Under Chokshi’s new advisory, anyone 18 or older can get a booster in the city of any of the three vaccines without proof of an extraneous circumstance.

However, there are still some restrictions on timing, Chokshi noted.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccine recipients can only get a booster if at least six months have passed since their last shot. Johnson & Johnson recipients must wait at least two months from their shot to be eligible for a booster.

So far, roughly 630,000 booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the city, according to Health Department data.

While the city’s hospitalization rate remains relatively low, infection counts are ticking up, with 972 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday alone, the data showed.

Chokshi said the uptick isn’t unexpected, as more people gather inside during the colder weather months. But he said the spike should serve as a reminder of the importance of getting vaccinated.

“I know that booster doses can provide one more layer of reassurance, allowing us to breathe a bit easier, either for ourselves or our loved ones, particularly as we gather and travel around the holidays,” he said.

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Tribune Wire

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