New Yorkers urged to get new COVID vaccine after spike in new infections

Governor Hochul and health officials warned that the updated dose, which will be available later this week in New York, offers protection that previous doses no longer provide.

COVID infections from new variants continue to cause concern in New York, where hospitalizations have been increasing since the summer, and officials are urging New Yorkers to take extra precautions and protect themselves with the new updated vaccine, which will be available later this week. The Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer and Moderna’s enhanced doses for adults and children up to 6 months, which starting at age 5 can be a single dose.

New Yorkers Urged to Act: Get the Updated COVID Vaccine to Tackle Rising Infections

Amid the spread of COVID, medical experts and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul herself warned that immunity from previous vaccines and infections does not guarantee protection from the new strains, so they implored injecting the updated vaccine.

“The vaccine has always been the best way to protect against COVID-19 for both you and your community, and this updated vaccine addresses the newer strains of the virus that are currently circulating,” the state governor said during a press conference Wednesday, where she stressed the importance of getting immunized especially this time of year.

Protect Yourself and Others: New York Unveils Enhanced COVID Vaccine Amidst Rising Hospitalizations

“As we enter the fall season, when respiratory viruses are circulating, it is vital that New Yorkers consider getting this updated vaccine to protect themselves from this still dangerous virus,” the Democratic leader said, noting that even those who have never been vaccinated can receive the new dose, which will prevent preventable deaths and contagions at a time when flu, COVID and RSV come together.

The Governor also raised her voice for those New Yorkers who have symptoms to take a test and in case of a positive result to go to their doctors and hospitals to receive prompt treatment that reduces the chances of serious results, especially for immunocompromised patients, with pulmonary or cardiovascular irregularities, and stressed that more than feeling fear, it is about acting in time.

“I know everyone wants COVID to end, but COVID is not finished with us. Hospitalizations are increasing. People have questions about new strains, new variants, what is it all about? And as we get closer to the fall season, you see a pattern, when all the respiratory illnesses start to show up. But here in New York, we’re not panicking, we’re preparing,” Hochul said.

New York health officials said they expect the updated vaccine, initially developed to target the Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5, to be available in pharmacies and doctors’ offices in the coming days.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that more than 90% of the COVID viruses currently circulating are related to Omicron strains, and the updated vaccine has been shown to be effective in boosting immunity even with the new variant, BA.2.86.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner James McDonald joined the Governor’s call and asked New Yorkers not to cast the recommendations on deaf ears.

“As we approach the fall and winter months and as we once again see an increase in COVID across the state, I urge all New Yorkers to remember that COVID is a treatable disease,” said the medical expert. “We now have an updated vaccine that will help reduce your chances of serious illness and hospitalization. Remember, it’s about personal protection, personal prevention and personal wellness.”

Health officials also said the new vaccine is covered by most health insurance plans, with no co-payments required, and even those without a hospital care program can receive the dose for free at community health centers, local health departments and pharmacies that are part of the Bridge Access Program.

Facts About the New Updated COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Children 6 months through 4 years old receiving the vaccine for the first time will get two doses of the Moderna vaccine or three doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Children 6 months through 4 years of age who have been previously vaccinated will receive only one dose of either of the two updated vaccines
  • Children 5 through 11 years of age are eligible to receive a single dose of the updated vaccine at least 2 months after their last dose.
  • Older than 12 years of age who have been previously vaccinated should receive a single dose of the updated Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
  • 12 years of age or older who have not been vaccinated will receive two shots
  • Those who have had COVID-19 in the past two months should talk to a doctor.
  • New Yorkers are also encouraged to get vaccinated this flu and RSV season.

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