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Hochul says second boosters are being offered at New York vaccination sites

Governor Kathy Hochul announced Saturday that New Yorkers aged 50 or older who received their boosters at least four months ago, or adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, are now eligible for a second dose. reminder. New Yorkers ages 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are also eligible.

“Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with all recommended doses is the most effective way to prevent serious illness and hospitalizations, and to progress safely during this pandemic,” Ms. Hochul said.

New Yorkers can schedule a free booster shot at any of more than a dozen state-run mass vaccination sites, including Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn; the Queensbury Aviation Mall-Sears in Queensbury; State Fair Art and Home Center in Syracuse; and the University at Buffalo South Campus at Harriman Hall in Buffalo.

Booster shots are one dose of an mRNA vaccine – either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

At a Friday press conference at City Hall, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan also encouraged city residents to get vaccinated and wear masks in indoor public places, pointing out that he was wearing a mask on the news. conference. Residents can find a place to get vaccinated for free and schedule a vaccination appointment on the New York City Department of Health website.

The governor’s announcement comes as health officials estimate that BA.2 — the most transmissible version of the coronavirus yet identified — accounts for more than half of new cases of the virus in the United States, the Centers estimated this week. for Disease Control and Prevention. The Omicron subvariant accounts for approximately 70% of cases in the region that includes New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico.

Even so, Ms. Hochul announced Thursday that the state would be “reducing” its testing sites as more New Yorkers use home testing. She did not give details of which sites would close. New York will retain contracts with test sites through June, Ms. Hochul said, and would be prepared to reopen them should the need arise. All 15 state-run vaccination sites will remain open.

Although BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1, it has not been shown to cause more severe disease.

Health experts fear BA.2, which has fueled increases in cases in Europe and Asia, could lead to another wave of the pandemic in New York, and possibly around the country. They think the true number of cases in New York could be higher than the data suggests, as many people are testing from home, with no official report of the results.

That’s prompting health officials to urge New Yorkers to stay vigilant.

“As we’ve seen with the recent surge in the Omicron BA.2 subvariant, Covid is still with us,” state health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said Saturday. “These safe and effective vaccines remain free, including the second booster.”

Grace Ashford contributed report.


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