Hochul announces booster shots required for healthcare workers

Posted 8 January 2022 at 10:02 am

Boosters also recommended for 12-15 year olds; Nursing home visitors need negative Covid tests, surgical masks

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday announced new guidance recommending booster doses for all New Yorkers ages 12 and older.

The guidance, following action by the CDC, recommends that people, including the newly authorized 12-15 year-old age group, who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should receive a booster dose at least five months after their second dose; the previous recommended interval was at least six months.

In addition, moderately to severely immunocompromised 5-11-year-olds can receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after their second dose. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children ages 5-11.

Additionally, the CDC on Friday recommended the same change to a five month booster interval for the Moderna vaccine, which is only authorized for people 18 years and older.

“As we continue to battle this winter surge, I strongly recommend that all New Yorkers ages 12 and older get boosted as soon they are eligible,” Governor Hochul said. “With boosters now available for all adolescents, I especially urge parents and guardians to get their children in this age group a booster dose as soon as eligible. A booster dose will provide greater protection against severe outcomes from Covid-19 and help keep our kids healthy, protected, and safe.”

Governor Hochul additionally announced her plan to require that all covered health care workers previously required to receive a Covid-19 vaccination under the Department’s August 26th Emergency regulation must also now receive a Covid-19 booster dose within two weeks of becoming eligible, absent a valid medical exemption.

Consistent with the August 26th Emergency Regulation, there is no test-out option. Following review and approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council at their emergency meeting on Tuesday, the emergency regulation will be filed with the Department of State (DOS). Regulations are effective upon the filing with DOS.

The Governor also announced new rules for nursing home visitations. Starting Wednesday, all visitors must wear “surgical”-type masks and must present upon entry a Covid negative test taken within 24 hours of their visit. Governor Hochul further noted that 952,000 tests and 1.2 million masks are being delivered to nursing homes late this week into next.

On Jan. 5, the CDC endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice’s (ACIP) recommended expansion of booster dose eligibility for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 to individuals ages 12 through 15.

CDC now recommends that all adolescents ages 12 through 17 should receive a booster dose five months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. This followed the CDC’s updated recommendations that severely immunocompromised 5-11 year-olds receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second dose, and that people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series should get a booster dose at least five month after the second dose, instead of six months.

“Booster doses are a critical tool in our continued response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and I am grateful that they are now available for all New Yorkers 12 years of age and older,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, the state’s acting health commissioner. “Data show that people who are vaccinated and boosted are more protected against serious illness from Covid-19, and we continue to urge all those eligible to act now. Do what you can to stay healthy and out of the hospital by getting vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask. If you have questions, talk to your health care provider or vaccine administrator.”