Governor Hochul Says Boosters Are Available In NYS

September 27, 2021

From Governor Kathy Hochul:

New York State Endorses CDC’s Recommendations to Ensure At-Risk New Yorkers Can Stay Protected from the Virus for Longer

Launches a Robust Implementation and Outreach Plan to Ensure the Availability and Accessibility of Booster Doses Statewide, Including a New Dedicated Booster Website – NY.gov/Boosters

New Yorkers Are Encouraged To Stay Up To Date With All Recommended Vaccines This Fall – Including All Recommended Doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine and the Seasonal Flu Shot

Governor Hochul: “That is not my first position though, my friends. My desire is to have the people who’ve been out there continue to work in their jobs, working in them safely. To all the other healthcare workers who are vaccinated, they also deserve to know that the people they’re working with will not get them sick. We now know that there are cases where people are reinfected, that there are cases of breakthroughs. If that wasn’t the reality, this could be a different conversation, but even people who’ve been vaccinated, it’s a low percentage, but who wants to take that risk? Nobody. We’ve been through too much together. We don’t want to take risks. We just want to do what’s right.”

This morning, while speaking at Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a robust implementation of booster doses into the State’s COVID-19 vaccination program, ensuring an efficient, equitable, and effective distribution of booster doses to eligible New Yorkers statewide.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:

Even when you’re out of office, Mr. Borough President, I want you to introduce me everywhere I go. Can we get that? Can we get that commitment? Your friendship runs deep, we’ve friends and allies for nearly seven straight years. You’ve been unwavering in your love of this community and how hard you have fought for the people of the Bronx. They were blessed to have you, are fortunate to have you. I know they know that, but I’ve always cherished our friendship and your guidance to make sure that we focus on the issues that were the most important. You’re absolutely right, we did a lot of great economic development announcements, affordable housing, hotels, new restaurants. I have walked these streets so many times. I’ve gotten to know the restaurant owners, but I was back here again just a few months ago, talking to the people in the pharmacies who are working tirelessly to make sure we had vaccines out. I went to see the Yankee Stadium site too, to literally talk to people and say, yes, we finally have the weapon to fight back and win this war.

So, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., I want to thank you for your incredible leadership through, as you said, the good times and the bad and now the great times that are coming back again. Borough President.

My friend and partner in state government, Senator Jamaal Bailey, who just hit the ground running when he was first elected. We’ve spent a lot of time supporting your local businesses, having coffee and et cetera, more than that sometimes. I just so appreciate how you make sure that people like myself and others in Albany know that this community has been hit hard, it has an amazing future. And if you hear me talk around the state, I say I’m very simpatico with people in the Bronx because I’m from Buffalo. Most of my life, we are had a little chip on your shoulder because people don’t give you the respect you think you deserve. They know now. Place like that that were never given their due. The respect they deserve, they finally have earned it and leaders like you are helping pave the way for that.

I am so excited also about our incoming Borough President, a dear friend of mine who I’ve worked with in a role as a council member. Council Member Vanessa Gibson. And I was so excited on your election night. We’ve had a couple of good celebrations since then, but thank you. And now we’ll do a lot of great things together as well.

And to my friends from SOMOS, I’ll be seeing Henry Munoz in a moment, but, Dr. Chin and Louisa Perez, all the other people who’ve been working here at Bay Eden, you truly are extraordinary. And I’m sure you thought this would never go on this long, that we had finally gotten through the worst of it. We got through the testing, our numbers were looking better, even at the beginning of this past summer.

And all of a sudden this Delta variant just came and just snuck up on us. And it was so hard because people were getting tired. They worked hard, they’re getting tired. I mean, everybody’s a human being, at the end of the day, and they get tired and they’re exhausted. They still continued to show up. This site continued to vaccinate people, nearly 80,000 people vaccinated right here. Let’s give that a round of applause. That is amazing.

I just had a chance to meet some of these healthcare workers and they’ve got such a positive attitude. They know they’re doing the most important work of their careers, their lifetime, and I’ve told many of them, I mean, I’ve met thousands of the workers, say this is going to define your legacy, your personal legacy. And many of them are younger. I say, when you’re telling the stories to your children and your grandchildren, you will be able to say I was there on the front lines, fighting back a global pandemic and because of what I did, there are more people who lived and were able to see their own children and grandchildren.

So to all the healthcare workers, I’m going to give you an extra round of applause for everything you’ve done.

And it was very, very good news to know that the CDC, the FDA, did approve the booster shot, something we know how to get into people’s arms. We’re very good at that here in the state of New York, our own New York State clinical advisory task force endorsed this on Friday by saying we support this and therefore booster shots are now available in the State of New York.

And as you heard, we had to do Pfizer, I have to wait a little bit, I was J&J, but Pfizer recipients, that is what has been approved, 65 and older, people who’ve been on the frontline also, if you’re an exposed worker, those people who work in grocery stores, those people who have been out there driving our buses and our subway trains, the people that has never had a chance to work from home. We want to make sure you’re protected and you were some of the early individuals able to be vaccinated so you’ve probably no doubt in my mind hit that six-month mark right now. But if you have any questions, we want to make sure you know where to contact us, but let’s get people vaccinated because I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired of talking about COVID.

I want to talk about the rebirth of communities like the Bronx and how else we can help our other boroughs. We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of challenges in front of us and we’ve been fighting this so long and hard and it almost seems like it’s never going to end, but my friends there is an end in sight and we’ve been given the approval to have this booster shot, which will save even more lives and I do hope that we soon get the approvals from the federal government for children in schools to be able to get vaccinated just like they do to be able to head off to kindergarten. They have to be vaccinated. We’ll add one more vaccine to make sure that they won’t succumb to this as well.

So we want to make sure that you know booster shots are going to be available, free booster shots at your pharmacies, your doctors’ offices, clinics, and locations all over the [state]. So all you have to do is text your zip code to, get this down everybody, 438829, text that and we’ll show you one of the locations right near you but also just consult with your healthcare providers as well.

This is our best defense right now and I’m really hoping that people heed the call. If you’ve not had your first round of vaccines, and as you mentioned this is not one of the highest vaccination areas in our state, I think we’re at about 46 percent in this zip code, so there’s a lot of people in this very community where we’re standing today who’ve not even had their first doses. Let’s change that dynamic. Let people know enough time has lapsed. If you were hesitant in the early months enough time has lapsed. It has been amazingly successful in saving lives. It works and we want everyone to know we value their lives. We want them to be healthy and not end up in a hospital or worse. So please, please, please get your vaccination.

I also just want to address something else. Today is a significant deadline. It reflects my priority to just stop this virus dead in its tracks. We are over it. We are done. We want to move on and the only way we can do that is to ensure that everyone is vaccinated but particularly individuals who are taking care of the people who are sick, and I’m talking about the confidence that people need to have, whether you’re an expectant mom heading into the hospital, checking in, an anxious time in your life, you need to be assured that the person taking care of you is not going to give COVID to you or your newborn.

Can’t we just say that that is a basic right that everyone has to know that they’ll be safe when they enter a healthcare facility or you have your elderly parents or grandparents in a nursing home that they will not get sick because of someone who’s charged with their care? We’re talking about just common sense here my friends, and think about another person who is in a car accident and maybe they’re getting chemo treatments on the side and they’re just immunocompromised. They have a right to be treated by someone who will not make them get sicker. So please help us get the message [inaudible]. My job, number one in this state, is to keep people safe. Clear, simple, there’s no way to cloud that, there’s no gray area. I need to keep people in the state safe and we’ll be nation-leading with our mandate which strikes at midnight tonight when everyone is expected in a hospital in the State of New York or a healthcare facility to have been vaccinated.
I believe that California is going to follow suit in a couple of weeks. And the president’s guidance goes into effect in late October. But we were hit the first, we were hit the hardest, and I want to be the first to say we’re over this.

And so I am calling on all the healthcare workers, first of all, those of you who’ve been vaccinated. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing what was right and helping lead the way, so we do have the confidence we need. And to those who have not yet made that decision, please do the right thing. We have a lot of facilities. A lot of your employers are anxious to just give you that jab in the arm and say, you’re part of the family. We need your help, continue on. And many of you have spent your lives dedicated to learning about science and medicine and how we can save people’s lives no matter what the illness is. We know this has been tough. We know this has been a hard decision, but we really do hope that you’ll come around to that decision to help us make sure that we can do everything we can in our power.

And that’s what I’m using as a full power of the state of New York to ensure that we do everything to protect people. And again, this is simple, common sense. We all know what common sense means. It’s just doing the right thing because it’s so obvious. And that’s what I want people to conclude right now.

Our numbers -I will give a report as soon as we get more numbers on where we’re at in terms of vaccinating our nursing home workers and our healthcare workers. I was on the phone as I was walking here with the leaders of our downstate health care organizations. I told them how proud I am that many of them have achieved 98 percent, 99 percent, which is extraordinary.
And I wanted them to convey on my behalf and the people of New York, thank them for their leadership and having this occur, but also to the people who listened to them.

But we’ll be convening what I’m going to call an operation center, where we’re going to find out the resources we have at hand. I’ve asked some of the hospitals who have had those high numbers to give us the names of individuals who are willing to go elsewhere. We’re going to have to build a team and be able to respond to areas where they’ve not been so responsive in terms of making sure their employees have not answered our call, our requirement that they be vaccinated.

So we’re going to work it out. You saw the release I put out over the weekend, which was to identify all the tools that we have at our disposal. I will be signing an executive order to give me the emergency powers necessary to address these shortages, where they occur. That’s going to allow me to deploy the National Guard who are medically trained, deploy people, who’ve been retired who may have had a licensed lapse, bring in people from elsewhere.

That is not my first position though, my friends. My desire is to have the people who’ve been out there continue to work in their jobs, working in them safely. To all the other healthcare workers who are vaccinated, they also deserve to know that the people they’re working with will not get them sick. We now know that there are cases where people are reinfected, that there are cases of breakthroughs. If that wasn’t the reality, this could be a different conversation, but even people who’ve been vaccinated, it’s a low percentage, but who wants to take that risk? Nobody. We’ve been through too much together. We don’t want to take risks. We just want to do what’s right.

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