ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New Yorkers will be able to get the new COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week, according to state officials. A Capital Region doctor explains the new shot comes at a crucial time for overwhelmed and understaffed healthcare facilities.

“There is a healthcare worker shortage nationally. You could say globally, even,” said Dr. Christopher Guzda, Regional Medical Director of Emergency Medicine at St. Peter’s Health Partners.

According to Dr. Guzda, respiratory season could pose a challenge to an already stressed facility.

“By not having the appropriate staffing numbers, we’re not able to open up full capacity at a hospital,” Dr. Guzda said. “During respiratory season, if we see an increase in respiratory cases that require admission, that’ll further strain our system.”

That’s why he urges you to only go to the emergency room if you’re experiencing severe respiratory symptoms, chest pain, or other acute life-threatening symptoms.

“We’re asking the public to please do your best to manage your symptoms at home. However, if you feel you need to be seen by a provider, we are always open 24/7,” he added.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Albany County are considered by the CDC at a “low” level right now. However, the state is reporting an uptick in cases.

“Get the updated vaccine. It’s very different,” said Governor Kathy Hochul at a press conference Wednesday.

The updated vaccine was reformulated and developed in recent months to target a subvariant of Omicron. According to the CDC, the shot should work well against currently circulating variants of COVID-19, including BA.2.86, a rare new variant the CDC is closely monitoring because it has multiple genetic differences from previous versions of the virus. 

“Again, tell everybody, don’t rely on the fact that you had a vaccine in the past. It will not help you this time around,” Hochul said.