EAST ICESLIP, Suffolk County (WABC) — People on Long Island can now roll up their sleeves to get a new COVID booster, with Northwell Health starting vaccinations Friday morning.

For 30-year-old Amanda Butler, getting the new bivalent reaction was an easy decision.

“The other three vaccines I jumped on as well,” she said. “I haven’t had any reactions to any of the vaccines so far.”

Updated boosters are now readily available, and in some cases right at your doctor’s office.

This includes the Northwell Family Physician office in East Islip. But will all her eligible patients be on board??

“Not everyone is in a rush to get vaccinated, a lot of people have said, ‘I’ve already had COVID, so I don’t need it,’ which is not true, we know that,” said Dr. Mara Koffler-Koldorft.

Eligible for Pfizer vaccination are ages 12 and over and for Moderna ages 18 and over and include anyone who is at least two months after their last booster or primary vaccination.

And if you’ve had COVID, you can wait three months, but you don’t have to. You can also get a flu shot at the same time, but this is optional.

“I think it makes perfect sense, that’s what I decided to do this year, but there’s no medical reason to do it at the same time as opposed to a week apart, other than just convenience,” said the program director Northwell’s vaccine Dr. Matthew Harris.

It’s been a long way since late 2020, when the COVID vaccines first came out with such long lines.

The bivalent booster will now protect against the more common omicron subvariants BA-4 and BA-5, as well as the original alpha variant.

It remains to be seen how many people will receive the updated booster shots, especially in communities where interest in the vaccine is waning.

But that’s another reason they’ll be more readily available from doctors people trust.

“She just found out about it, we just knew about it, we didn’t know it was available,” said Veronica Lopez, the recipient’s daughter.

This is a sign that the pandemic has entered another phase.

MORE NEWS: The CDC warns that a rare disease in children may increase this fall


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