ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– During her press conference on Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul received the latest COVID-19 booster vaccine that targets specific variants. Not only did she urge New Yorkers to get boosted, but also announced new masking guidance.
“These boosters, that we will be talking about today and are widely available today, are to target the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 which has been the predominant variant for a number of months now,” said Hochul.
New York State Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett also encouraged New Yorkers who already had their first and second dose, to get the new booster.
“It doesn’t matter how many boosters you’ve had before. If it’s been two months since your last shot, you should look into getting another booster. For the 12 to 17 year-olds, it’s the Pfizer. And for anyone 18 and over, it’s the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available as boosters.
For the first time in 28 months, The governor also updated masking guidance on public transit.
“Masks are encouraged, but optional,” Hochul announced. “This is what you’re going to see on our subways and our mass transit throughout the state of New York. This is busses upstate, this is transportation everywhere, so we are very, very excited about that as well.”
For those who work at CDTA, a bus service in the Capital Region, this is welcomed news.
“All this time, almost three years, they had to wear a mask for their entire shift on a bus. And it was difficult for them. So really welcomed news for our employees. And I think as long as we make this change in an intelligent and thoughtful way, we are still going to encourage people to wear a mask. Obviously it’s their decision. We obviously aren’t going to mandate it any longer,” said Carm Basile, CDTA Chief Executive Officer
However, masks are still required in state-regulated health care facilities and clinical settings.