Newly updated COVID vaccine booster shots designed to target omicron’s wildly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are now available in New York City, but initial eligibility is limited to those covered by guidance from the CDC.
For now, anyone 12 or older who got their last COVID vaccine at least two months ago is eligible for the omicron booster, city officials say. With omicron subvariants accounting for nearly all of recent NYC COVID infections, health officials urge everyone eligible to get dosed with the newest vaccine, especially people who are more vulnerable.
The updated COVID booster can be administered at the same time as your flu shot, so save time with appointments. Call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) to schedule an appointment at certain sites, as well as to get other vaccination assistance. And if you’re a New York City resident 65 years or older or are homebound, the booster can come to you.
Use the NYC vaccine finder to search for specific types of vaccines, learn more about boosters and age-specific requirements and everything else, including appointment scheduling, here.
The shots are available at local pharmacies and other locations, so you can check there directly or with your primary care provider or local health department regarding appointments.
At the state level, the Department of Health recently issued updated clinical guidelines on omicron-specific boosters to providers enrolled in its vaccination program.
Providers should also note that monovalent, the earlier, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized for use as boosters for people ages 12 years or older, according to the updated federal guidance. Scheduled appointments to administer monovalent Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna boosters to people 12 years of age or older must be rescheduled for when locations have the omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccines available.
In the weeks ahead, the CDC also indicated that it expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for younger pediatric groups, as well. Until then, the monovalent mRNA Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine remains authorized for use as boosters in children ages 5 through 11 and for all primary series vaccinations.
The state Department of Health continues to share CDC’s recommendation that all eligible adults, adolescents, and children five years and older get fully vaccinated and receive the COVID-19 booster when eligible.
“The novel coronavirus has changed over time, with many new variants, including omicron,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said recently. “These bivalent boosters for the first time are tailored to a circulating variant. I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of this advance and contact their health provider, visit the local pharmacy, or call their county health department to get this booster as soon as possible.”