New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state may sooner or later change the definition of “full vaccinated” to include a booster dose.
Hochul, whose broad mask mandate for New York businesses just came into effect, was asked during a Dec. 16 press briefing what’s next on the list of things she seeks to implement. She replied that her office would ask businesses to only admit people who are fully vaccinated inside.
“I have said all along I have two missions. One is to protect the health of the people of New York. The second is to protect the health of the economy. Right now we can do both, to the extent that businesses follow what we ask them, only allowing people who are vaccinated,” Hochul said.
“At some point we may have to determine that ‘fully vaccinated’ means boosted as well, and we’ll give people a sufficient time frame to make that happen,” she continued. “I’m just sending out the message now: Prepare for that.”
The Democratic governor also advised vaccinated people to get booster shots and wear masks, citing “cases of reinfections.”
“People who have been vaccinated are getting it again and again,” she said. “They may not be in the hospital, but they could also be in contact with someone who ends up being in the hospital.”
The call for a new standard comes as the Biden administration signals a possible redefinition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response team, said the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is open to changing the definition to include a booster shot for the two-dose vaccines.
“It is a bit of semantics in that fully vaccinated for the purpose of the regulations and requirements that people have is to be what are you considered as being fully vaccinated,” Fauci said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “But there’s no doubt that optimum vaccination is with a booster.”
“Whether or not the CDC is going to change that, it certainly is on the table and open for discussion,” he said.
The Biden administration’s push for boosters is unlikely to change the minds of those who remain unvaccinated, according to research group Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). In September, when booster shots received federal approval, the KFF found that the conversations about boosters to be a “net positive for people who are already vaccinated, but a net negative for the unvaccinated.”
According to the KFF survey conducted among 1,519 adults living in the United States, 71 percent of the unvaccinated say news about boosters is a sign that the vaccines aren’t working, compared to 22 percent who say that scientists are continuing to find ways to make vaccines more effective. Meanwhile, 78 percent of vaccinated people say talk of boosters shows that the science is improving.
“Most unvaccinated adults see the booster discussion as a sign that the vaccines are not working as well as promised, while most vaccinated adults see it as a sign that scientists are continuing to find ways to make vaccines more effective,” the KFF report reads.