Regina Sung, Photo Editor

New Haven city officials are gearing up to vaccinate Elm City residents with booster shots, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nov. 19 announcement that eligibility had been expanded to all adults. 

The Food and Drug Administration officially amended the emergency use authorizations for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to include the administration of the booster shot to all ages 18 and up. On Monday, the CDC strengthened its recommendation, saying that all adults “should” get a COVID booster. 

“Boosters are important because they boost your defenses against COVID,” Mayor Justin Elicker said in a Nov. 12 press conference. “The COVID-19 vaccine clearly works, and there is overwhelming evidence that it is helping get our cases under control.” 

Elicker and New Haven Director of Health Maritza Bond, along with pastors J.C. Cadwallader, Roger Wilkins and Timothy Keyl, got their booster shots on Nov. 12 in an effort to educate New Haveners about receiving a third shot.

In a press briefing last Wednesday, Bond said that 69 percent of New Haven residents over 12 have received the full COVID-19 vaccine treatment, and more than 76 percent of New Haveners over 12 have received at least one dose. As winter approaches, and as the holiday season commences, concerns about COVID-19 cases are becoming more dire, they said.

“That means that there is going to be an increase in indoor activity and intermingling of individuals that are not necessarily the immediate household,” Bond told WTNH New 8.

The push to get New Haven residents vaccinated comes along with efforts to get children immunized against COVID-19 following the expansion of Pfizer vaccine eligibility to children five and up.

Gov. Ned Lamont encouraged all Connecticut residents to get their booster shots at a press conference earlier this month.

“We’re 11 months into the vaccination program,” Lamont said. “In my view, if you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you’re not fully vaccinated. If you were vaccinated more than six months ago, now is the time and go get that booster. I urge you to get it now.”

Anyone eligible for the booster vaccine can walk in to get their shots at the New Haven Health Department on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or on Fridays 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Both Pfizer and Moderna are available at the department.

The city is trying to mitigate the barrier for vaccination by creating walk-in periods that do not require an appointment. The University is also supporting New Haven’s efforts to provide booster shots.

“The Campus Covid Resource Line is available to assist callers and guide them to available locations in the community,” Nanci Fortgang, chief clinical operations officer and director of the Yale COVID-19 Vaccine Program, wrote in an email to the News. “In addition, Yale Health has provided RNs to staff the Yale Community Health Care mobile van and has also shared vaccine supplies when needed. Members of our vaccine team actively participate on the New Haven Health Department’s Risk Committee which promotes vaccination throughout the city.”

Outside of the Health Department’s hours, appointments can be made via phone calls to the New Haven Health Department, the Fair Haven Community Health Center or the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center. Appointments are also available through Yale New Haven Health and select pharmacies.

Eesha Natarajan, a YNHH resident in pediatrics, said she got her booster shot at CVS.

“I am exposed to COVID-19 fairly frequently,” Natarajan told the News. “So I figure I should do what I can. We’ve had a bunch of residents call out because of COVID-19, so now that we have a booster I figured I should get it.”

Yale students can schedule a booster vaccine shot appointment through Yale Health’s self-scheduling portal.

Dante Motley is public editor for the News. He was previously managing editor, and prior to that he covered Black communities at Yale and in New Haven. He has also served as an Associate Editor for the YDN Magazine and worked on "The Yalie" podcast. Dante is a senior in Grace Hopper College majoring in anthropology.