New York City Joins Other States in Expanding COVID-19 Booster Shot Access to All Adults

Joining California, Colorado, and New Mexico on Monday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would expand COVID-19 booster shots to all adults

A healthcare Worker hands in surgical gloves pulling COVID-19 vaccine liquid from vial to vaccinate a patient
Vaccine. Photo: Getty

Although the Food and Drug Administration is planning to sign off on Pfizer-BioNTech COVID booster shots for all adults as soon as Thursday, New York City is joining three states in moving ahead sooner and allowing those 18 and up to get their third jab.

Alongside California, Colorado, and New Mexico, on Monday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, announced the city would sidestep the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation for a vaccine booster.

The city said adults who have received their second Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 shot at least six months prior, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months prior, are now eligible for the booster.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also said that she was directing health officials to expand booster access to those who meet the timing qualifications.

According to the New York Times, Dr. Chokshi said those who are 18 or older interested in getting a booster shot in New York City should not be turned away. "Clinicians should allow adult patients to determine their own risk of exposure based on their individual circumstances," he said.

California's health officials made a similar call for clinicians to provide the booster to anyone vaccinated six months ago or more.

The head of NYC's public hospitals Dr. Mitchell Katz chimed in, "For qualifying for a booster, if you're over 18, one of the specific criteria is being at higher risk and I view all New Yorkers, because of the density of our city, of being at higher risk."

In October, the CDC endorsed the FDA's COVID booster shot authorization for certain populations: those 65 and older, and those 18 and up who are either living in long-term care facilities, have underlying health conditions, or who live or work in high-risk settings.

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According to the CDC, recent data points to the need for booster shots, citing waning vaccine effectiveness over time and the "greater infectiousness of the Delta variant."

In September, a study from the CDC found that the side effects of the booster shots are similar to what people experienced after getting their second vaccine dose.

The report showed that among 22,191 people who received the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, they either had mild to moderate symptoms or none at all.

Just under 80 percent of people had reactions such as headache, arm pain and fatigue after getting their third dose, typically the day after injection. About 28 percent of people said they could not go about their usual daily activities after getting the booster shot and needed to rest.

A slightly higher number of people reported feeling side effects after their third vaccine dose compared to the people who experienced symptoms from the second dose, 79.4 percent versus 77.6 percent.

As of Nov. 4, about 21.5 million booster shots had been administered and 193,227,813 people are considered fully vaccinated in the U.S.

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