Anyone who believes they are at risk should get a COVID-19 booster shot, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said, amid a rise in COVID cases in parts of New York.
Federal health officials have said people who are age 65, have at-risk occupations in fields like health care or are immune compromised should receive a booster shot. But Hochul's statement, reflecting state health guidelines, goes further.
"I am strongly encouraging all New Yorkers who live or work in a high-risk setting to get the booster," Hochul said. "I received the booster, and believe no one who feels they are at risk should be turned away from getting a COVID-19 booster shot. If you feel at risk, please get the booster."
Hochul herself has previously received a booster shot of the vaccine after receiving a Johnson & Johnson-manufactured dose earlier this year.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and city Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi also said Monday that they want to allow anyone who qualifies for a booster to get one.
At issue for state officials is the concern the virus case rate will once again increase as the winter sets in and more people remain indoors.
"As Governor, I am committed to protecting the health and safety of all New Yorkers, and with the holidays coming up, we must continue to do everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19," Hochul said in a statement. "We know the vaccine not only slows the spread, but also improves outcomes and reduces the stress placed on our hospitals and health care system. Dr. Fauci recently noted that making the booster shot available to all is 'absolutely essential' to fighting this deadly virus - especially as people start to congregate indoors for holiday gatherings."
Hochul's office on Sunday reported 65.7% of New Yorkers eligible to receive the vaccine have done so.