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NYC opens COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, health commissioner says

New York City is opening COVID-19 booster shots to anyone who is over 18 years old, with the city’s health commissioner saying there should be “no barriers” to getting the extra shot.

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The move appears to make the shots more widely available than current CDC guidance recommends.

City health commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said on Twitter Monday that he is issuing a “Commissioner’s Advisory to ALL health care providers emphasizing our guidance and ensuring there are no access barriers.”

“Clinicians should allow adult patients to determine their own risk of exposure, based on their individual circumstances. In practice, this means that providers should not turn a patient away if they request a booster … as long as they are 18 and older and it has been at least 6 months since a Moderna or Pfizer dose or at least 2 months since a Johnson & Johnson dose.”

Current CDC guidance states that boosters can be given to people over 65 years old, or who have underlying serious health problems, or who live or work in a place that puts them at high risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

Asked at a virtual news conference if New York City is moving beyond the CDC guidance, Mayor de Bill Blasio told reporters: “I think the more people that get booster shots the better, and we should take the broadest interpretation, the most inclusive interpretation of who qualifies to ensure that people who want it get it are not turned away.”

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He then turned it over to Chokshi, who said that the new city policy is “consistent” with both the CDC and FDA guidance on the boosters.

Of special importance in the criteria for receiving the booster is a person’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, Chokshi said.

“This is often a very individual assessment of the risk depending on where people work, where they live, what their occupation is,” he said.

“What we are trying to clarify today is that there should be no barriers to accessing a booster shot provided that someone is an adult, meaning 18 or older, and at least six months out from a Moderna or Pfizer second dose, or two months out from the J & J vaccine dose.

“So the bottom line is, as the mayor said, we don’t want anyone turned away from a booster dose and we want to prioritize those who we know will most benefit from it,” Chokshi said.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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