ALBANY, NY (WIVB) – A new COVID-19 vaccine is on the way, and Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to make it clear that it is not a booster shot.
“Everyone wants to be done with COVID, but COVID isn’t done with us yet,” Hochul said at the start of her Wednesday morning update on the status of the coronavirus and vaccines in New York.
The number of COVID cases is increasing again, which Hochul said has become a regular trend during the fall season. But it’s difficult to figure out how many are affected because people are not reporting their illness at the same rate as during the pandemic.
However, hospitalizations provide a better insight into the current severity of the virus. There has also been an increase here since August. New listings in the Long Island and New York City areas are above the national average, while those in Western New York and the Southern Tier are below.
Like viruses, COVID changes, and a new vaccine to protect against the newest strains is on its way to New York. Hochul says some doses were shipped Tuesday evening after FDA approval.
“These vaccines have been updated to include a monovalent (single) component corresponding to the Omicron variant XBB.1.5,” the FDA said.
Wednesday’s conference was reminiscent of the state’s daily conferences during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but times have changed and public health officials have accumulated much more knowledge about the deadly virus than was known at the time.
“Everything has changed,” Hochul said. “We’re in a completely different place.”
The new vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will be recommended for everyone ages six months and older when they become available. According to Hochul, nursing homes must make these available to residents.
People ages 5 and older only need one dose, while younger people may need more.
“Take the right precautions and we can handle it,” Hochul said.
Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. You can find more of his work here and Follow him on Twitter.