All New Yorkers age 12 and older can now schedule appointments to receive coronavirus vaccines.

Current information on COVID Boosters:

Pfizer - FDA and CDC has approved a single booster dose to be administered at least six months after 2nd vaccine shot for individuals 65 and older; individuals 18 to 64 at high risk of severe COVID-19; and people 18 to 64 whose occupation puts them at high risk of exposure to COVID-19

Moderna - The FDA and CDC recommend booster shots of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 65 and older and other vulnerable Americans.

J&J - The FDA and CDC recommend a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for people age 18 and older, to be given at least two months after the first shot. Check with your doctor for further guidance.


Is the vaccine safe and effective?

After a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized or approved for use by the FDA, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for adverse events (possible side effects). This ongoing monitoring can pick up on adverse events that may not have been seen in clinical trials. If an unexpected adverse event is seen, experts quickly study it further to see if it is a true safety concern. Experts then decide whether changes are needed in US vaccine recommendations.

In New York State, an added level of review was established to ensure COVID vaccine safety. Following FDA approval, experts on New York State's independent COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Advisory Task Force thoroughly review vaccine research before recommending any vaccine to New Yorkers. As of December 18, 2020, two COVID-19 vaccines have currently been approved by both the FDA and New York State's independent Clinical Advisory Task Force: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine.

Will the vaccine give me COVID?

No. None of the vaccines being studied are made up of materials that can cause disease. For example, the first vaccine approved by the FDA uses a small, harmless part of the virus's genetic material called 'mRNA'. This is not the virus. mRNA vaccines teach your body to create virus proteins. Your immune system develops antibodies against these proteins that will help you fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if you are exposed to it. That is called an immune response.

Are the vaccines safe for children and pregnant women?

Studies will need to be conducted testing the vaccine with these groups. To date, no Phase 3 clinical studies of COVID-19 vaccines include children younger than 12 years, and limited data is available on pregnant women.

If you get a vaccine do you need a negative COVID test beforehand?

No. The CDC does not recommend COVID-19 screening tests before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Please consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about the COVID vaccine and your health.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don't know how long this protection will last.

Will the vaccine make me sick?

You may not notice any changes in how you feel after getting the shot. But it's also possible to feel a little "under the weather." This can happen after any vaccine. It is the body's immune response to getting vaccinated and a sign that the vaccine is starting to work.

After the COVID-19 vaccine, you may have:
• A sore arm where you got the shot
• A headache
• Chills
• Fever
• Tiredness

Over the counter pain relievers and fever reducers may help. You should feel better in a day or two. If you still don't feel well after two or three days, talk to your health care provider.

Can I get an allergic reaction from the COVID-19 vaccine?

People can have allergic reactions to any medication or biological product such as a vaccine. Most allergic reactions occur shortly after a vaccine is administered, which is why the CDC recommends that persons with a history of anaphylaxis (due to any cause) are observed for 30 minutes after vaccination, while all other persons are observed for 15 minutes after vaccination. All vaccination sites must be equipped to ensure appropriate medical treatment is available in the event of an unlikely allergic reaction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone with an allergy to "any component" of the vaccine not get the vaccine.

Will there be side effects from the vaccine?

No serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported. Common side effects that have been observed in clinical studies include fatigue, muscle soreness at the injection site and fever.

Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don't know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.

How long will vaccine immunity last?

Researchers do not yet know how long immunity lasts after vaccination. That's why continuing prevention practices like wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly and social distancing will still be important.

I've heard about "herd immunity." What would it take to get the population to "herd immunity" for COVID-19?

'Herd immunity' happens when enough people have protection from a disease that it is unlikely that the disease will continue to spread. As a result, the virus won't easily spread among the community. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. They also do not know how long the vaccine will protect people.
Letting COVID-19 spread through communities naturally would lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death.

If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and social distance?

Yes. You will need to continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene for the foreseeable future as the vaccine gets rolled out in phases.
Experts need more time to understand the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on mask use. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.

Will there be more than one vaccine available?

Yes. Currently, three vaccines have been authorized by the FDA, and more vaccines are expected.

Will I need more than one shot?

All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S. need two shots to be effective.

Is the vaccine free?

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines will be available at no cost.

Will I be required to get a vaccine?

New York State is not mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.

All information provided by the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. For more information, visit the CDC COVID Vaccine webpage or the NYSDOH COVID Vaccine webpage.