During a Dec. 16 press conference, Hochul said she plans on introducing legislation to change the meaning of fully vaccinated to include the booster dose. "At some point, we have to determine that fully vaccinated means boosted as well. We'll give people a sufficient time frame to make that happen," she said.
The governor added that the proposal seeking to redefine what fully vaccinated means will not be made until more data is gathered and the legislation is further scrutinized. However, she added that the new meaning may be presented shortly.
"People are underestimating the power of omicron because they say 'People aren't getting sick, they aren't going to hospitals.' But if you have a million more people infected, that means you will have overflowing hospitals at this rate," she said.
In response to the omicron variant, Hochul imposed a statewide mask mandate for all indoor establishments on Dec. 10. The policy went into effect starting Dec. 13 and lasts until Jan. 15, 2022.
Non-compliant businesses could face civil and criminal penalties with a maximum fine of $1,000 per violation. However, CBS News reported that the mask mandate will not apply if the establishment already has a vaccine mandate in place.
Hochul sent a message to business owners during the press conference: "This is a crisis; this is a healthcare crisis and people are going to die. The facility does not have to close. That will hurt them economically; that is not the place I want to go."
According to Hochul, the mask mandate would not have been necessary had people gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 early in the pandemic. (Related: NY Gov Hochul fires health care workers en masse amid 'pandemic' for refusing vaccines 'from God'.)
Hochul, who replaced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August 2021, is not the only authority seeking to redefine fully vaccinated. White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has moved to change the meaning of the term to include booster doses.
The infectious disease expert said during a September 2021 White House briefing: "I would not at all be surprised that the adequate, full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses." Fauci argued that the immunity stemming from a third vaccine dose was "dramatic" and "durable." However, he noted that health authorities would have the final say on the matter.
Fauci has been consistent with his pro-booster dose rhetoric.
"We would hope – and this is something we are looking at very carefully – that the third [vaccine] shot … not only will boost you way up, but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it ever six months or a year, " he said during a November 2021 appearance in ABC's "This Week."
"We're hoping it pushes out more. If it doesn't and the data show we do need it more often, then we'll do it."
He told Business Insider on the same month: "[I want to] make it crystal clear that if you have been vaccinated – go get boosted. Make it really simple. If you had a primary vaccination, get a booster. The effect of [booster doses] is very, very favorable [in] preventing people from getting infected. We have got to get almost everybody who's gotten the primary vaccination regime, we've got to get all of them boosted." (Related: Fauci shifts goalposts, redefines vaccine to include booster shot.)
During a Dec. 8 interview with journalist Kate Bolduan, Fauci doubled down on the three-shot definition of fully vaccinated amid the omicron variant's U.S. spread. He said: "Right now, I don't see that [definition] changing tomorrow or next week. [But in my] own personal opinion – it's going to be a matter of when, not if."
"Certainly, when you want to talk about what optimal protection is, I don't think anybody would argue that optimal protection is going to be with a third shot."
A day before Hochul's press conference, Fauci warned that the B11529 omicron variant "will assume a dominant role very soon" and projected a grim outlook for unvaccinated Americans.
"With omicron breathing down our back, things could get really bad, particularly for the unvaccinated. The vaccinated and those who are boosted, I believe, will be relatively well protected – at least against severe disease."
Below is a video of Hochul claiming the the COVID-19 vaccines "came from God."
VaccineWars.com has more on authorities redefining fully vaccinated as three doses.