Coronavirus

NYC Clears Way for Any Adult to Get Booster, But Process Isn't Hassle-Free for Some

Some vaccination sites, including CVS pharmacies, in New York City are asking those who want a booster shot to justify their request by proving they’re older than 65 or employed as an essential worker. 

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What to Know

  • Although NYC issued an advisory allowing all adults who want a booster to get one in an attempt to beat the rising COVID-19 cases, some are finding it is not as seamless of a process as they thought
  • Some vaccination sites, including CVS pharmacies, are asking those who want a booster shot to justify their request by proving they’re older than 65 or employed as an essential worker 
  • The city continues to emphasize the need for boosters and for children 5 to 11 years old to get vaccinated because COVID-19 cases are rising

Although New York City issued an advisory allowing all adults who want a booster to get one in an attempt to beat the rising COVID-19 cases, some are finding out it is not as seamless of a process as they thought.

In Lower Manhattan, Renata Prentes was getting a COVID-19 test Thursday, before her Thanksgiving travel. She got a booster as well. 

“Once the boosters were available I decided to take them ASAP," Prestas, a Tribeca resident, said.

But, a number of New Yorkers are finding it’s not a hassle-free process as they thought. Some vaccination sites, including CVS pharmacies, are asking those who want a booster shot to justify their request by proving they’re older than 65 or employed as an essential worker. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged Thursday that pharmacy chains may not have understood when New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said he was issuing a commissioner's advisory: "no barriers to access," or in other words, all adults 18 and over who wants a booster shot can get a booster.

“We gotta get the message out to the pharmacies better," de Blasio acknowledged.

NYC is reminding New Yorkers that it is important to get tested before the holidays, as COVID cases rise in NYC and City Hall doubles the mobile COVID testing vans on the streets. NBC New York's Andrew Siff reports.

However, a CVS spokeswoman told News 4 New York: “We understand that some states may expand the criteria for COVID-19 boosters, but our participation in the Federal Pharmacy Program requires us to follow recommendations from the FDA and CDC.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Jay Varma, New York City's senior medical advisor, said the city's advisory is not contradicting federal guidelines.

“We didn’t contradict federal [guidelines]. We are saying we don’t require a medical condition," he said. "Essentially what we are saying is we don’t require people to attest.”

The city continues to emphasize the need for boosters and for children 5 to 11 years old to get vaccinated because COVID-19 cases are rising.

The state's health department has reauthorized Thursday mask mandates for schools and health care settings -- a rule that was set to expire next week.

However, there is some good news when it comes to progress on the vaccine mandate front: 94% of municipal workers are now vaccinated. The NYPD went from 70% vaccinated to 87% in three weeks; the FDNY went from 58% to 88%; and EMS went from 62% of its staff vaccinated to 92%.

“Mandates work! They get people vaccinated," de Blasio said.

Copyright NBC New York
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