All adult New Yorkers who were vaccinated against COVID-19 at least six months ago are eligible to receive their booster shot, the city’s top doctor announced Monday.
“Clinicians should allow adult patients to determine their own risk of exposure, based on their individual circumstances,” Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, said during the mayor’s virtual press briefing. “In practice, this means that providers should not turn a patient away if they request a booster.”
“There should be no barriers to accessing a booster shot,” he added. “We don’t want anyone turned away from a booster dose.”
Previously, those who were eligible for a booster included people 65 and over, people with pre-existing medical conditions, employees and residents of homeless shelters, nursing homes and hospitals, as well as others like health care workers who are at particularly high risk of contracting the virus, according to the Department of Health’s vaccine information web page, which was not updated as of Monday morning.
Now, everyone over 18 and older is eligible, provided it’s been at least six months since their Moderna or Pfizer booster or at least two months since a Johnson & Johnson dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined it’s safe and effective to mix and match vaccine dose brands, meaning one can receive a Pfizer vaccine booster even if the initial inoculation was with a Moderna shot or vice versa.
A recent study showed the rates of confirmed COVID-19 infection and severe illness were “substantially lower” among those who got a booster shot compared to people who did not.
So far, 630,000 New Yorkers have chosen to tack on an additional shot on top of their initial completion of their vaccine series, Chokshi said.
“We have a tool and it works and that’s booster shots,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during the news conference, held remotely from Brooklyn Borough Hall. “We got to lean into it more.”
“Everyone, boosters work,” he said. “Go out and get ’em.”