Gov. Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers on Tuesday to get a coronavirus vaccine booster if they believed they were at high risk or lived in a “high transmission area,” jumping ahead of a possible decision by federal regulators to authorize an additional shot for all adults.
Ms. Hochul went a step further than the earlier comments, but still caused confusion by offering a vague definition regarding high risk. That may not be an issue for too long, as the Food and Drug Administration is aiming to authorize booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for all adults as early as Thursday, according to people familiar with the agency’s plans.
This would increase the number of Americans who are eligible for additional shots to the tune of tens of thousands. Arkansas and Colorado are two states that recently decided to allow adults to get booster shots instead of waiting for the federal government’s decision. New York City called on everyone 18 years old to get a booster shot Monday.
Ms. Hochul stated that people should get a booster when they live in an area with a positive rate of more than 4 percent or 5 percent. According to state data, this includes Albany, New York City, and the Finger Lakes area.
“Anyone who lives in these areas and feels risk, that they’re at risk of catching this virus, they should go get a booster,” Ms. Hochul said during a briefing in Buffalo on Tuesday afternoon. “I want to be crystal clear on that.”
Ms. Hochul did not issue any formal guidance on Tuesday afternoon defining high risk areas. Her office later stated that the governor did no want to issue any specific guidance in order to persuade as many people as possible to get a booster.
Indeed, Ms. Hochul suggested she was trying to avoid putting out statewide guidance for boosters, stressing that transmission rates varied widely by region and people’s personal circumstances were different. She said the metric for determining a high transmission area was flexible, adding that “what I’m not looking for is a broad brush statewide approach to treat every region in the state identically.”
Ms. Hochul is a Democrat. She did not specify whether rates should consider at a county, regional, or citywide level. However, she seemed to suggest large swathes of the state fall under her definition of high risk. However, she made it clear that boosters should be left to the individual.
She stated, for instance, that people who live in densely populated areas and interact with more people daily may feel more inclined get a boost.
Source: NY Times