All adults living in New York City are officially eligible to receive coronavirus booster shots, following decisions made Friday by federal regulators to expand eligibility for the shots across the country beyond those who have underlying conditions, live or work in high-risk settings or are over 65.
The decisions by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought federal guidance in line with how New York City officials had already started to interpret it. City leaders advised health providers on Monday that they should not turn away adults seeking a booster shot, provided enough time had passed since they were first vaccinated.
A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that 732,000 adults had received booster shots so far in New York City.
“Let’s get that number up a lot more, particularly as we’re getting ready for the colder months,” Mr. de Blasio said this week. “That’s how we fight back Covid in the colder months, and that’s how we get ready for something wonderful: the holidays.”
Here’s what you need to know about getting a coronavirus booster shot in New York City.
Who is eligible for booster shots?
The F.D.A. on Friday authorized Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters for all adults, provided it has been at least six months after they completed the initial two-dose regimen. Then the C.D.C. endorsed the boosters later on Friday, after its panel of independent experts recommended them.
All adults who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also eligible for a booster, so long as it has been at least two months since they received the shot.
Where can I get my booster shot in New York City?
New Yorkers can get booster shots at a number of places, including pop-up vans and buses, churches, local pharmacies, community health clinics and even at home.
To stay updated on the rotating schedule for pop-up and mobile sites, head to the city’s Vaccine Command Center.
How can I schedule my booster appointment?
Appointments can be booked through the city’s vaccine finder website, drugstore websites like Walgreens or family physicians.
Nov. 20, 2021, 5:38 a.m. ET
You can call 877-VAX-4NYC to find city-run vaccination sites, get a ride to your appointment if you’re older or have a disability and get help scheduling a free in-home visit. Home visits can also be scheduled via this form.
On the vaccine finder website, you can choose the type of booster you want to receive and the location that’s most convenient for you. The website will ask you when you received your last vaccine shot in order to verify that you are eligible for a booster.
Many adults have been able to make appointments easily and haven’t had to deal with long lines or waits, unlike when the vaccine first became available.
Walk-in booster shots are available at many city-run sites as well.
Does it matter which booster shot I get?
Adults can “mix and match” their booster shots, which means they don’t necessarily have to choose the same brand of the vaccine that they initially received. There is some evidence that mixing vaccines produces a stronger immune response.
What are health experts saying about booster shots?
A booster shot is just one tool used to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but it is an effective one, said Dr. Denis Nash, a professor of epidemiology for the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.
“There’s debate in the scientific community about where we can get the biggest impact on public health,” Dr. Nash said. “Is it through boosters? Is it through emphasizing that first shot for people who haven’t had anything, especially for the young folks who just became eligible for vaccines? Is it in the realm of testing and trying to improve the availability of tests?”
Dr. Nash said there was an argument to be made for each of those measures. He added that researchers were confident that people over 65 and those with comorbidities should receive booster shots, and that researchers were still collecting evidence on the impact of giving boosters to all adults.
“We don’t know for sure, but it could be that if we have more people get the boosters now and then have a surge, we will be glad we did it,” said Mr. Nash, pointing to what’s happening in the United Kingdom and Germany, where there are significant increases in coronavirus cases despite high vaccination rates.
Coronavirus cases in New York City have been on the rise recently, according to a New York Times database: The daily case average stood at 1,240 on Thursday, which is 17 percent higher than it was two weeks ago. Average hospitalizations fell 12 percent over the same time period.
Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, supported New York City’s earlier decision to broaden the eligibility for booster shots, saying that the conflicting information around the shots may be perplexing for some people.
“There’s all this confusion about who should get a booster, when should you get a booster, what kind of booster,” he said. “I think what New York City is doing is really following the evidence, and the evidence is that really everybody benefits from a booster.”