More than 363,000 COVID-19 bivalent booster shots have been administered in New York City since the updated vaccine was rolled out in early September, the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, said at a briefing Wednesday.
The number represents a modest jump from the end of September, when the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told NY1 that 175,000 New York City residents received the latest COVID-19 vaccine, which is referred to as bivalent because it has been designed specifically to better inoculate against omicron and other prevalent COVID-19 subvariants.
While Vasan said the city’s seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate was low – it stood at 9.1% as of Oct. 11 – he emphasized New Yorkers should prepare for the possibility that transmission rates may trend upwards as winter closes in.
“The current situation is good, but it’s not permanent, and it could move significantly in either direction depending on the actions we do or do not take,” the health commissioner said, before urging residents who had not already done so to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
With the holiday season fast approaching, Vasan said health officials are monitoring COVID-19 trends in Europe and across the globe in case new subvariants crop up.
“The solutions are clear. The tracking is something we’ve been doing for years now, and often, we’re looking to Europe because, historically, we’ve been about month behind or even several months behind what Europe is facing,” the health commissioner said.
Last year, the omicron variant swept across much of Europe before making its way stateside and becoming the dominant strain of the virus.
Dr. Vasan added that, at the moment, health officials are not seeing any new variants of concern in the city.
The vaccine from Moderna is authorized as a booster dose for children as young as six, while the shot from Pfizer-BioNTech is authorized for kids as young as five.
A decision from the CDC is expected to follow shortly, clearing the way for shots to begin.