New York’s battle against COVID-19 continues to get a boost, one vaccinated arm at a time.
Over 620,000 previously vaccinated New Yorkers have receive booster shots since the federal government authorized them in September, city officials reported Monday. While the ongoing effort to vaccinate all New Yorkers continues, city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said getting booster shots is critical toward helping the city stem off a severe “winter wave” of COVID-19 infections.
“Although hospitalizations remained low right now, we are seeing an uptick in cases in recent days,” Chokshi said during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Nov. 15 briefing. “We have anticipated that this might occur as the weather gets cooler and people spend more time indoors. But compared to this time last year, we have many more tools to fight COVID-19 and work to keep a winter wave at bay.”
So far, more than 6 million New Yorkers, including those who’ve received booster shots, have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccination doesn’t guarantee a person won’t be infected with COVID-19, the inoculation does boost the body’s immune system to help ward off severe, even fatal, infection.
City health officials have credited vaccinations for helping to keep the hospitalization rates low this summer even as the highly-contagious Delta variant began making its way through the Five Boroughs; more than 97% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations involve unvaccinated individuals, according to city Health Department data.
Chokshi later issued a commissioner’s advisory to all health care providers in the Five Boroughs urging them to follow guidance on COVID-19 booster shots and advise patients who may be most susceptible to COVID-19 to get vaccinated if they haven’t yet received a shot, or get a booster if they’re already inoculated against the virus.
“In my own conversations with patients and family members, I know that booster doses can provide one more layer of reassurance, allowing us to breathe a bit easier either for ourselves or our loved ones, particularly as we gather and travel around the holidays,” he said.
Doctors are also successfully using monoclonal antibody treatments to help COVID-19 patients at risk of severe infection.
Chokshi stated that continued use of masks within indoor settings, along with increased ventilation, hand hygiene, and remaining home when symptomatic will further help slow the spread of COVID-19.