Northwell Health now administering new COVID booster on Long Island

Stacey Sager Image
Friday, September 16, 2022
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The bivalent booster will protect against the more prevalent BA-4 and BA-5 subvariants of omicron, as well as the initial alpha variant. Stacey Sager has more.

EAST ISLIP, Suffolk County (WABC) -- People on Long Island can now roll up their sleeves to get the new COVID booster and Northwell Health started administering the shots Friday morning.

For 30-year-old Amanda Butler, getting the new bivalent booster shot was an easy decision.

"The other three vaccines, I jumped on those too," she said. "I haven't had any reactions to any of the vaccines so far."

The updated boosters are now readily available, and in some cases, right at your doctor's office.

That includes at the office of a Northwell family practitioner in East Islip. But will all her eligible patients be on board??

"Not everybody's jumping in to get the shot, a lot of people said, 'I already had COVID, so I don't need it,' which is not true, we know that," said Dr. Mara Cofler-Koldorft.

For the Pfizer shot, ages 12 and up are eligible -- for Moderna, it's 18 and up and includes anyone at least two months beyond their last booster or primary shot.

And if you've had COVID, you can wait three months but you don't have to. You can also get your flu shot at the same time, but you don't have to.

"I think it's perfectly reasonable, that's what I chose to do this year, but no medical reason to do it at the same time, as opposed to a week apart, other than just convenience," said Northwell vaccine program director Dr. Matthew Harris.

It has been a long journey since the end of 2020, when the COVID vaccines first emerged with those long lines.

Now the bivalent booster will protect against the more prevalent BA-4 and BA-5 subvariants of omicron, as well as the initial alpha variant.

It remains to be seen just how many people will get the updated booster shots, especially in communities where the interest in the vaccine is waning.

But that's yet another reason they will be more available from the doctors people trust.

"She just learned about it actually, we just knew about it, we didn't know it was available," said Veronica Lopez, a recipient's daughter.

It's a sign the pandemic has entered yet another phase.

MORE NEWS: CDC warns rare condition in kids could rise this fall

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