The latest expansion comes as the omicron BA.2 sub-variant fuels new concerns over the COVID pandemic; cases are rising but hospitalizations and deaths are still down and experts don’t expect a huge increase
What there is to know
- NYS released its second COVID booster dose guide on Saturday; recommendations reflect those established by the federal government
- At this point, New York health officials are urging those eligible for a booster to at least get one if they haven’t already; like the CDC, they do not fully recommend 4th doses ASAP for everyone who is now eligible
- The expansion comes as omicron’s BA.2 subvariant fuels new concerns over the COVID pandemic; cases are rising but hospitalizations and deaths are still down and experts don’t expect a huge increase
New York State released its second COVID booster eligibility guidelines on Saturday, days after all five boroughs began offering the fourth doses of the vaccine after the federal government authorized those shots earlier in the year. week.
The expanded eligibility mirrors that outlined by the FDA and CDC. New Yorkers age 50 or older who received their first booster at least four months ago, adults last vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson at least four months ago, and all ages 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are included.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients can get a second booster of any mRNA COVID vaccine, meaning Pfizer or Moderna. However, those under 17 should still stick to the Pfizer vaccine.
Second boosters are free and widely available throughout New York, including all state-run mass vaccination sites (make an appointment here Where find a convenient location near you here). State health authorities continue to strongly encourage at least one booster dose for eligible adolescents and adults.
“Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with all recommended doses is the most effective way to prevent serious illness and hospitalizations, and to move forward safely during this pandemic,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement.
The FDA has given the green light to Americans 50 and older, as well as those who are immunocompromised, to receive a second booster shot. It only applies to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and must be at least four months old since eligible people received their first booster. Reporting by NBC New York’s Ida Siegal.
State Department Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett echoed the sentiments of Democrats, saying, “For each of us, vaccination remains our best personal line of defense against COVID. As we have seen with the recent increase in the omicron BA.2 subvariant, COVID is still with us.These safe and effective vaccines remain free, including the second booster.
According to CDC data from the recent omicron surge, those who were boosted were 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19 than those who weren’t vaccinated, and seven times less likely to be hospitalized, a- she pointed out.
Retail pharmacies are also on board with the second reminder rollout and major chains, including Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid, are already accepting online or walk-in appointments. Learn more about the New York City rollout here.
Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant is now the dominant COVID strain circulating in New York and the country and is contributing to an increase in cases. Hospitalizations and deaths, however, the most critical benchmarks, remained down.
Experts say that although BA.2 may be more contagious than its predecessor, there is no evidence at this stage that it is linked to a more serious disease or that it is more resistant to vaccines. Given these factors and high vaccination rates in New York, officials do not expect the subvariant to trigger another major viral resurgence locally or in the United States.
What is the difference between the BA.2 subvariant of the coronavirus? Not much, says NBC News medical contributor Dr. John Torres. The subvariant hasn’t been labeled as a variant of concern, and it’s not that different from Omicron, Torres says. Here’s a metaphor: If an entirely new variant is like the virus putting on a whole new outfit, a sub-variant just puts on new shoes.