ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new COVID-19 vaccine is on the way, and Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to make it clear — this is not a booster shot.
“Everyone wants to be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with us,” Hochul said at the start of her Wednesday morning update on the state of the coronavirus and vaccines in New York.
Cases of COVID are going up again, something Hochul says has become a regular trend during the fall season. But there’s a problem with finding out just how many have it since people aren’t reporting their illness at the same rate as during the pandemic.
Hospitalizations are giving a better idea of the current severity of the virus though. Those, too, have seen an increase since August. New admissions in the areas of Long Island and New York City are above the state average, while those in Western New York and the Southern Tier are below it.
As viruses do, COVID is changing, and a new vaccine to protect against the latest strains is on its way to New York. Hochul says some doses were shipped Tuesday night following the FDA’s approval.
“These vaccines have been updated to include a monovalent (single) component that corresponds to the Omicron variant XBB.1.5,” the FDA said.
Wednesday’s conference harkened back to the daily conferences held by the state during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but times have changed, with public health officials amassing much more knowledge about the deadly virus than what was known then.
“Everything has changed,” Hochul said. “We are in a very different place.”
The new vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, once they’re available, are recommended for anyone six months or older. Hochul says nursing homes will be required to make them available for residents.
People 5 years or older only need one dose, while those younger may need more.
“Take the right precautions and we can handle this,” Hochul said.