COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
COVID-19 immunizations hold the best hope for getting our lives and our economy back to normal. There have been many recent advances in COVID-19 vaccines and we will continue to provide current information as new developments occur. We have gathered the following resources to help you understand how these vaccines were developed and approved and when they will be available.
Approved COVID-19 Vaccines
For more information about other COVID-19 vaccines that are in development, click here.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued their COVID-19 Distribution Guidelines which recommends that health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities be vaccinated in the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program. It may be several months before the general population can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Please click here to see if you are eligible to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines and where you can go to receive it.
Click here to view COVID-19 Vaccine Locations in New York City.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant and devastating impacts on every segment of our lives. Tragically, our nation has now lost over 500,000 individuals to the COVID-19 virus. But hope is on the horizon to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. Vaccination is an important tool to help us return to normal and three vaccines have now been approved for emergency use in the United States. Naturally, you may have questions about these vaccines, their safety and efficacy and whether you should receive them when eligible. Below, we have provided answers to frequently asked questions about these vaccines to help individuals become informed. We have also included links to additional resources to learn more. Thank you for your interest.
How many vaccines have been approved so far to prevent COVID-19?
Three vaccines have been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to date. In December 2020, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two vaccines to prevent COVID-19, at the recommendation of the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). A Task Force of experts convened by New York State also approved the vaccines. The first approved vaccine is made by Pfizer-BioNtech and requires two doses, given 21 days apart. The second vaccine is manufactured by Moderna and requires two doses given 28 days apart. Both vaccines require completion of two doses to be fully immunized against COVID-19. Both doses should be given using the same vaccine product. In February 2021, the FDA approved the third vaccine to prevent COVID-19 – the single dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe disease and showed peak immunity reached beginning 28 days after vaccination.
Are the approved vaccines safe and effective?
Creating a vaccine is a very complex and highly regulated process. Given the worldwide impact of the pandemic, significant resources were devoted both by the federal government and vaccine manufacturers to create vaccines to prevent COVID-19. No safety protocols or testing requirements were bypassed. Instead, experts worked around the clock for several months to develop, test and seek approval for human use through a transparent process. Decades of research from leading medical experts have proven vaccines are safe and effective. Further, vaccines are continuously monitored for safety and possible adverse events by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information click here.
Phase 3 (final phase) clinical trials for the approved Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines found them to be about 50% effective after the first dose is given and approximately 95% effective after both doses are given. For the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trials demonstrated the vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe disease. They also showed protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination.
Are there side effects to these vaccines?
Short-term mild or moderate side effects are normal after receiving vaccines. Side effects can be a sign that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. Common side effects may include a headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or a fever lasting a day or two. In rare instances, people can develop an allergic reaction shortly after they have been vaccinated. For this reason, all who receive vaccines are closely monitored for a period afterward by trained vaccine providers. The COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended for those who have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in COVID-19 vaccines or after a previous dose of the vaccine.
If I already had COVID-19, should I still get vaccinated?
Yes, if you previously had COVID-19, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, you can and should still receive the vaccine
Can I get vaccinated and still get COVID-19?
For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines it takes 1 to 2 weeks following the second dose before a person is considered fully vaccinated and immune to COVID-19 at a level of 95%. If you are exposed to COVID-19 just prior to or during this window after receiving the vaccines, it is still possible to get the virus. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe disease and also showed protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination.
Can the vaccines cause COVID-19?
No. None of the approved vaccines are activated virus vaccines and cannot give you COVID-19.
Can I receive other vaccines at the same time I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
The CDC recommends receiving the COVID-19 vaccine alone, with a minimum of 14 days before or after receiving any other vaccine.
Are COVID-19 vaccines a treatment or cure if I do get the virus?
No, while COVID-19 vaccines can prevent you from getting the COVID-19 virus, if you have an active infection, these vaccines are not a treatment or cure.
Should children and adolescents be given these vaccines?
While children are being enrolled in vaccine clinical trials now to determine use and efficacy, currently the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine is only recommended for those aged 16 and older, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines are recommended for those aged 18 and older.
I’m healthy, why should I bother to get vaccinated?
While older individuals and those with underlying conditions may be more severely impacted by the virus, there are reports of young and healthy individuals being hospitalized and even dying from it. As a result, healthy individuals should be vaccinated when eligible to protect themselves. Further, experts are saying we may need 70-90% of the population vaccinated to reach herd (or community) immunity to prevent its spread and to protect those who cannot be vaccinated. Further women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should discuss whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine with their health care provider. Please see The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidance for pregnant and breast-feeding women here.
I heard these vaccines use a new technology? Is it safe? I read on social media it will change my
DNA? Another post said it was developed to control the population through microchip tracking. Are these true?
Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA technology. While mRNA vaccine technology is new it is not unknown. This technology has been studied for more than a decade. These vaccines do not enter the nucleus of cells and do not alter or interact with the DNA of vaccine recipients. Further, there is no “microchip” in the vaccines to track people.
I heard Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses different technology than the other two approved vaccines what is it? Can it give me COVID-19?
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine. It uses an adenovirus which is a type of virus that causes the common cold, which has been inactivated to carry a gene from the coronavirus into human cells. The cells then produce coronavirus proteins (not the virus itself) to mimic the virus, which helps teach the immune system to fight off later infection if the body encounters the coronavirus. This vaccine uses an inactivated cold virus and cannot give you COVID-19. For more information, click here.
There are 3 vaccines approved for COVID-19 what are the differences between them? Which one should I get?
According to federal and state medical experts you should get whichever COVID-19 vaccine is eligible to you first. For the differences between the vaccines please see the chart below as well as clicking here for further information.
|Vaccine||Pfizer||Moderna||Johnson & Johnson|
|Type of Vaccine||MRNA||MRNA||Adenovirus|
|Recommended Age to Receive||16+||16+||16+|
|Number of Doses||2 doses 21 days apart||2 doses 28 days apart||1 dose|
|Effectiveness||95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 and 100% effective at preventing severe disease.||94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic infection||72% overall efficacy and 85% efficacy against severe disease in the U.S.|
|Peak Immunity||1 – 2 Weeks post second dose||1 – 2 weeks post second dose||4 weeks post dose|
I read there are new variants of the COVID-19 virus that are more transmissible? Will the COVID-19 vaccines work against this variant?
We are starting to see new variants of the COVID-19 virus in the United States and recently in New York State. According to federal and state medical experts, the COVID-19 vaccine is still expected to be reasonably effective at preventing these new variants. Dr. Fauci states, “When you get a variant that diminishes the capability of the vaccine, when you get a good vaccine…you cannot necessarily get the get the best possible response, but it’s still within the cushion of effectiveness.”
How will I know when I will be eligible to receive it and is there a cost?
First, the COVID-19 vaccines will be provided free to individuals. Further, with the three COVID-19 vaccines just being approved recently and more in development, initial supply of the vaccines is limited but expected to increase significantly in the coming weeks and months. As a result, the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued recommendations for vaccine roll out in phases by population starting with staff and patients in hospitals and nursing homes and expanding to other frontline workers and individuals in the community over time. New York is closely following the ACIP recommendations. For more information on these phases and New York’s vaccine implementation schedule including an eligibility tracker please use the following resources:
Where can I go to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines?
While there are many resources available to learn more about the COVID-19 virus and the recently approved vaccines, we urge you to rely on trusted sources of science and evidence-based information. This includes speaking with a trusted health care provider and also viewing federal and state resources to learn more including the following:
Other COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained
- Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines
- Different COVID-19 Vaccines
- The COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project
- COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit
- ACOG: FAQ on COVID-19 Vaccine, Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding
- NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Program & Distribution Plan