In response to the rampant spread of COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant in New York State and Suffolk County, Riverhead Free Library (330 Court Street) is offering a special one-day vaccine clinic for everyone ages 5 years and older this Wednesday, December 22 from 2–6 p.m.
Appointments are not required and walk-ins are welcome, making this a perfect opportunity to get the jab — whether it’s your first or second dose, third dose or a booster — and protect yourself and your loved ones right before the next week of holiday gatherings. It actually takes two weeks to build maximum immunity, but this will set you on the right track, and getting a shot on Wednesday should ensure any discomfort or side effects (usually felt within the first 48 hours of inoculation) will pass in time for Christmas.
The clinic is offering Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, so patients in need of their second dose should have had Pfizer-BioNTech for their first dose.
According to a recent update from Pfizer, preliminary laboratory studies demonstrate that adding a booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine will neutralize the Omicron variant by 25 fold when compared with the standard two doses, which also significantly reduce neutralization titers. In other words, getting the two-dose vaccine will still go a long way toward helping people infected with COVID-19 avoid hospitalization and death, but with Omicron spreading, a booster would be the best course of action to combat breakthrough infection and the possibility of severe COVID symptoms. This is especially true for people over 50, those who have underlying conditions and anyone living in long-term care settings.
Six months must pass after the initial Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna two-dose vaccine series before anyone can receive a booster shot. Those who received the single-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster after two months.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) encourage all eligible New Yorkers to get their booster dose.
While appointments aren’t necessary at Wednesday’s clinic, those with appointments will have priority. To make an appointment, visit: vax4.suffolkcountyny.gov or call 311.
All persons must show identification. For children 5–17 years of age, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent for vaccination, either in person, by phone at the time of the vaccination appointment, or by completing a consent form. Minors 5–15 years of age must also be accompanied by an adult caregiver.
Medical practitioners and emergency medical practitioners will be on-site to answer questions and tend to any needs or concerns.
According to data from The New York Times, new reported cases in Suffolk County have ballooned to an average of 1,494 new cases per day, up 71% over the past two weeks, and the positive test rate is now 9.8% (as of December 20). During the same two-week period, COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached 65%, and 47 people have died from the virus.
As of Sunday, December 19, 71% of Suffolk County residents (all ages) are fully vaccinated, 81% of residents over 12 are fully vaccinated and 93% of our most vulnerable residents, ages 65 and older, have received both shots.
Long Island has the highest number of people infected with COVID-19 in the entire state of New York, but vaccines are readily available at locations all over the region. Tomorrow’s clinic makes an already simple process even easier.
Learn more at suffolkcountyny.gov/vaccine.