All New Yorkers age 18 and older can now get a COVID vaccine booster shot if they want one, per an advisory from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
City health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said Monday that healthcare providers should not withhold a booster to any adult who wants added protection ahead of a busy holiday travel season.
The FDA and CDC are expected to authorize boosters for all adults as early as next week — so far the agencies have only advised boosters for people 65 and older or 50 - 64 with underlying medical conditions.
While COVID cases in NYC dipped significantly in the fall, the city is experiencing an uptick in infections as the weather has gotten colder.
Local officials say the boosters can prevent city life from being upended once again due to the pandemic.
"I know that booster doses can provide one more layer of reassurance, allowing us to breathe a bit easier for ourselves or for our loved ones, particularly as we gather and travel around the holidays," Chokshi said. "So let's use every means at our disposal to make this a safe and healthy winter season."
Chokshi added that his advisory is in step with federal and state guidance, given the "risk of individual exposure" in the congested five boroughs. While older people and those with underlying medical conditions remain the priority, Chokshi says he doesn't want anyone turned away.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signaled Monday that his state would soon simplify vaccine booster eligibility rules to allow all residents 18 and older to get another shot.
"We think this is a big step we can take with the holidays coming up," he said during his daily press briefing. "We need as many people boosted as possible, plain and simple."
Boosters for the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer or Moderna should wait at least six months from their primary series before getting a booster. People who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine can receive a booster 2 months after their primary dose.