Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan updated residents on the latest eligibility guidelines for COVID-19 booster shots Thursday, September 30 as active cases of the virus continue to rapidly decline in the county.
The countywide active case count stood at 289 as of Thursday, down from a peak of 670 on September 11. The City of Kingston led the county with 54 active cases, while Saugerties was second with 43. New Paltz had eight and Woodstock had zero. Ryan said hospitalizations and positivity rates are also down, even as students are attending in-person classes again.
Booster shots will be administered in the same order that residents received their original COVID-19 vaccine, Ryan said in an emailed statement. The county will be sending out registration links via email as well as updating the county’s website and social media channels as more info becomes available.
County officials say they anticipate they will distribute about ten thousand booster doses by the end of October.
Ryan said as of Thursday, only Pfizer has been approved for booster shots. The county executive said in the coming weeks the FDA will be reviewing booster shots for both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. “Until this authorization, only eligible residents who originally received the Pfizer vaccine will be able to obtain a third dose of Pfizer,” he said.
Ryan said the following individuals are eligible for a booster shot:
- Individuals 65 years of age and older at least six months after completion of the primary series
- Residents of long-term care facility 18 years or older at least six months after completion of the primary series
- Individuals 50-64 years of age with one or more underlying medical conditions* at least six months after completion of the primary series
- Individuals 18-49 years of age with one or more underlying medical conditions* based on individual benefit and risk
- Individuals 18-64 years of age who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, based on their individual benefit and risk, including:
- An essential worker (frontline and non-frontline)
- An unpaid caregiver of a frail or immunocompromised person
- A paid or unpaid worker who interacts within less than six feet of others
- Lives in a congregate setting (e.g. homeless shelter, correctional facility)
*Underlying medical conditions that can increase risk of moderate or severe illness or death from the virus that causes COVID-19 include:
- Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers
- Chronic kidney disease
- Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, including Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
- Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Neurologic conditions, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia
- Liver disease.
Those vaccinated with a primary series of Johnson and Johnson or Moderna vaccine or those who have received recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine primary series that has been listed for emergency use by the WHO and not the FDA are currently not eligible for booster shots.
Beginning Friday, October 1, the county’s vaccination site at the former Best Buy store at Hudson Valley Mall will be open on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. While appointments are encouraged, walk-ins are accepted.
“I want to remind you all of where we were earlier this year, with hospitalizations on the rise we had a tremendous lack of supply of vaccines,” Ryan said. “The lack of reliable doses made residents understandably both anxious and angry. “Nine months later, Ulster County has a vaccination rate of 81%, making us among the top vaccinated counties throughout the State.”
Ryan cautioned residents that the county is not yet out of the woods and there will be more hurdles to clear but officials are working to get residents vaccinated and administer booster shots.
For additional information visit http://www.vaccinateulster.com.