New York City will offer coronavirus vaccine booster shots to residents as soon as next month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
“We want people to start thinking about this because there will be more and more opportunities for folks to get boosters,” the mayor said. “We’re not only going to encourage it, we’re going to make it easy and free as always.”
A CDC advisory board voted unanimously to approve a third coronavirus vaccine last week amid the surge in cases throughout the country, and the White House is expected to formally announce booster shots this week.
People would receive the booster shot eight months after their second shot.
“We’ve been talking about this this week, how we use the apparatus that’s been built now,” the mayor said. “All the healthcare sites that have been providing vaccination, our mobile efforts, even our efforts to go straight to people’s homes… We can use the same exact approach for boosters.”
62.9% of all eligible New York City residents have received at least one shot, and 56.6% are fully vaccinated. Coronavirus cases are rising throughout the city, driven by the infectious Delta variant. The seven-day average cases reached 1,699 as of Tuesday, and the positivity rate was 3.8% as of Monday, both rising steadily over the past month.
“We have been preparing for the possibility that booster doses will be recommended,” said Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi. “Preparations are underway. And as the mayor has said, they will rely on the infrastructure that we have built up over the last several months and particularly the healthcare infrastructure. Those are the hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, as well as the additional city sites and mobile options and in-home vaccination that we’ve built up over the last few months.
“I do want to emphasize that, you know, the news reports that we are hearing are still preliminary. We do need the federal government to come out with its official guidance, particularly the FDA authorization,” he added. “So, our understanding is that the timeline that we should expect for New Yorkers to actually get administered booster doses is no earlier than sometime in September.”