Mayor Eric Adams: Good morning. This is Mayor Adams, and I’m here with Dr. Vasan, the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. And we are really looking forward to this updated COVID-19 vaccine, and I want to lead by example and a take my updated COVID-19 vaccine.
When COVID-19 hit our city three years ago, New Yorkers stepped up and rolled up their sleeves and responded accordingly. They listened to the voices of the former administration, who I really want to commend for leading the way on dealing with the pandemic, and we want to continue to tell New Yorkers to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine.
We looked out for each other, did what was right for our families, and now that we enter the fall and holiday season, many of us are going to be sitting down together celebrating the holidays, we want to continue to protect our families. And so, this is the first fall virus season where vaccines for COVID-19, RSV, and flu are available. We know that with the colder weather hitting and large holiday gatherings becoming more frequent, that COVID-19, flu, and RSV cases will rise, and we can control and do something about it.
This year we have the tools. We did not have those tools in the beginning of this COVID pandemic, but we have them now, and this is the best way to use these tools. And so, I’m going to get my updated COVID-19 vaccine today to protect myself as well as my loved ones. And I’m asking all of you New Yorkers if you ride the subways, if you’re going to be sitting down celebrating the holidays, if you’re going to be going out to the theater, whatever you do, protect yourself and ask your family members to protect each other.
The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. New Yorkers can help us reduce transmission this fall. Get your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines today. We’re also reminding people to get tested before you go into big gatherings or holiday parties. And if you get sick, do the best thing: stay home.
All these measures are important for every New Yorker. These are just simple ways of really empowering yourself to fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic and the virus. But especially for those who are at high risk such as those 65 and older, pregnant or people who are immune compromised, immunocompromised. So, do the right thing. Get covered. I’m going to get my shot today. I’m going to encourage you to do the same.
And doctor, thanks so much, to go back to those days when we were just tackling this virus, and now when we think about it we have all these tools to make it happen. You know, you and your team over at DOHMH, we want to really thank you. So, I’m turning it over to you.
Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Thanks, mayor. Really glad to be here today to give the mayor his updated COVID-19 vaccine. Want to thank my team, Dr. Crouch and the entire bureau of immunization at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that really led our vaccination campaign and has led our vaccination campaign throughout our city over the last several years.
This is a part of COVID-19 becoming a part of our lives. Every year, just as we would update the flu shot, just as we update our iPhones, just as we update software on all sorts of things we use, the COVID-19 vaccine gets updated to best match the circulating strains of SARS‑CoV‑2 virus, and so that’s what we’re doing here today.
Last year, you might recall we had a really steep uptick in COVID, in RSV and in flu in and around the same time, October into November and December. We’re forecasting something similar this year, but this is the first year that we have, as the mayor said, vaccines against all three major respiratory viruses for this season. And so, we’re going into this season with more tools than ever, better prepared than ever.
And I’m so glad to be here today to be giving the Mayor the first in his step of getting ready for this season, which is his COVID shot. You can also get your flu shot at the same time. I got my COVID and my flu shot last week at the same time with no side effects. It’s safe and easy to do and provides you that max level of protection. And if you’re a parent of a very small infant or if you’re elderly ‑‑ above 65 ‑‑ talk to your doctor about whether the RSV vaccine is also right for you.
The COVID-19 vaccine saves lives. That’s especially true if you’re at risk for severe disease — that is, if you are 65 and older, if you have an immune compromised condition, if you have a chronic illness, or if you’re pregnant, or if you’re a member of the disabled community that might be at higher risk for those conditions. Go get your vaccine today. It could be the difference between you being hospitalized or just riding through the illness at home safely.
For the rest of us, it’s going to reduce your symptoms even if you get COVID — it’s going to reduce your risk — and it’s going to reduce your risk of long COVID symptoms, which have been shown over the last several years people who are vaccinated have a lower risk of getting long COVID.
So, for all those reasons, get vaccinated today, New York. You can go to vaccinefinder.nyc.gov to find a location near you, a pharmacy, a chain pharmacy, a community pharmacy, your primary care provider, a federally qualified health center. Our H+H sites have them available. And of course, if you fall into a category of being underinsured or uninsured, we have free vaccines eligible for you through the Department of Health. Just visit our website or call 311 and make an appointment.
So, I’m very happy to give the mayor his vaccine today. Which arm?
Mayor Adams: Probably right.
Commissioner Vasan: Right arm, okay. So, I’ll move over.
Mayor Adams: Should I sit here?
Commissioner Vasan: Yes, that would be great.
Mayor Adams: Wear a white coat like I’m a doctor.
Commissioner Vasan: You can.
So, you guys get to watch me do the whole shebang. And we screened the mayor for conditions before to make sure that he doesn’t have any adverse reactions. So, that’s all been done, thank you, Dr. Crouch for that. Let’s have a seat and do this, here.
Mayor Adams: And this is for like safety disposing the needles.
Commissioner Vasan: That’s for sharps, yes. For needles so needles don’t get disposed of with regular stuff. Okay, we’re going to do it right here in your deltoid.
Mayor Adams: Ahh! [Laughter.]
The best part of getting a shot, you get that cool Band‑Aid after, you know? [Laughter.]
Commissioner Vasan: All done.
Mayor Adams: You did it already?
Commissioner Vasan: Yeah. I tend to do it while people are talking… And since I know you love to talk… I just thought I’d do it, and now it’s over. We’re just going to hold a little pressure. You want to hold it?
Mayor Adams: Yes.
Commissioner Vasan: I’ll get you a Band‑Aid. That’s okay, I love to talk, too. All right.
Mayor Adams: Painless, simple, easy, safe. Make it happen. Roll up your sleeves, New York. That should be a campaign, Roll Up Your Sleeves.
Commissioner Vasan: Thank you. Thanks, everybody.
New York City Hall
October 10, 2023