NYC will soon have Moderna and J&J COVID booster shots available

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Mayor de Blasio and top city health officials unveiled tentative plans Monday to roll out booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines, but said they are still waiting on formal approvals from the federal government before moving forward.

The Food and Drug Administration granted tentative approvals for both boosters last week and along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce more formal approvals and guidance in the coming days.

“We’re getting ready in anticipation of that,” Mayor de Blasio said Monday. “One of the things we’re focusing on is making sure in the days ahead that all of our vaccination sites are ready, that our people are ready, that our supplies are ready and that New Yorkers are informed.”

He added that once the city receives more detailed guidance from the feds, “we’re going to provide it to all New Yorkers right away.”

City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said that while the pending approvals will determine how the city ultimately proceeds, he expects the guidelines for the Moderna booster will be the same as those for the already approved Pfizer shot and that a broader swath of people will be eligible for the Johnson & Johnson booster.

The Pfizer booster, which began circulating last month, is available to anyone over 65 and to people between 18 and 64 who work in risky fields, like health care settings. People between 18 and 64 with pre-existing health conditions are also eligible for the Pfizer boost.

So far, more than 168,000 New Yorkers have received a booster dose of Pfizer.

“We anticipate the eligible populations to include the same categories as those currently eligible for the Pfizer booster,” Chokshi said of the Moderna shots. “Eligible New Yorkers will be able to receive a Moderna booster at least six months after their second Moderna dose.”

Chokshi anticipates that more people will be eligible to receive J&J boosters.

He predicted that all New Yorkers 18-years-old and older who received the single-dose vaccine would likely be eligible for the booster, “as long as it’s been at least two months after the primary dose.”

Chokshi also predicted that after the Centers for Disease Control weighs in on the matter this Thursday, the city would be ready to begin administering shots of both Moderna and J&J.

But he cautioned against taking a booster from a brand that differs with what someone was originally inoculated with.

“I also want New Yorkers to be aware that the FDA committee has so far only recommended a booster of the same brand that you’ve already received,” Chokshi said. “The FDA and CDC will further discuss what’s called mix and match for getting vaccine doses of different brands, and we’ll share more information with you in the coming weeks.”

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