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The updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available at locations across the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced yesterday.

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters, which are designed to add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants and bolster previous vaccination protection, are being distributed locally at Walgreens pharmacies in Riverhead, Wading River and Mattituck, as well as at the Costco pharmacy, according to the vaccines.gov website. Members of the public can locate vaccination availability by typing their zip code to in the search box on the vaccines.gov website. Vaccine location information is also available by texting the zip code to 438829, or calling 1-800-232-0233.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week recommended the updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for anyone age 12 or older and from Moderna for those 18 or older.

“The novel coronavirus has changed over time, with many new variants, including Omicron. These bivalent boosters for the first time are tailored to a circulating variant,” New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary Bassett said.

“Getting vaccinated and boosted remains our best shot at protecting ourselves and fellow New Yorkers, Hochul said yesterday, “and I encourage everyone eligible to sign up and get the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster.”

The governor also announced yesterday that masks will now be optional on public transportation, in for-hire vehicles, at airports, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and detention centers.

Masks will continue to be required at adult care and health care facilities regulated by the state Department of Health, and in clinical settings regulated by the Office of Mental Health, Office of Addiction Services and Supports, and Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor and attorney. Her work has been recognized with numerous journalism awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She was also honored in 2020 with a NY State Senate Woman of Distinction Award for her trailblazing work in local online news. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.