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Coronavirus: COVID-19: Vaccine

What you need to know about the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

COVID-19 Vaccine Variants

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Name: BNT162b2
  • Type of vaccine: mRNA
  • Number of shots: 2 (3 for 6-month-olds to 4-year-olds) shots in the muscle of the upper arm, 21 days apart, Moderately or severely immunocompromised people ages 12 years and older should get an additional primary shot at least 28 days after their second shot.
  • Booster Shot: Everyone ages 16 years and older can get a booster shot at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series. Teens 16-17 years old can get a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster. Adults 18 years and older can get any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States for their booster shot.
  • Does not contain: Eggs, preservatives, latex
  • Most common side effects: Pain, swelling, and/or redness in the arm where you got the shot, chills, tiredness, muscle pain, fever, nausea, and/or headache
  • Summary of safety data: 
    • In clinical trials, reactogenicity symptoms (side effects that happen within 7 days of getting vaccinated) were common but were mostly mild to moderate.
    • Side effects (such as fever, chills, tiredness, and headache) throughout the body were more common after the second dose of the vaccine.
    • Most side effects were mild to moderate. However, a small number of people had severe side effects—defined as side effects affecting a person’s ability to do daily activities.
    • Although few people in the clinical trials went to the hospital or died, data suggest that people who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were less likely to have these more serious outcomes compared to people who got the saline placebo.
    • CDC will continue to provide updates as we learn more about the safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in real-world conditions. Learn more about vaccine safety monitoring after a vaccine is authorized or approved for use.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Name: mRNA-1273
  • Type of vaccine: mRNA
  • Number of shots: 2 shots in the muscle of the upper arm, 21 days apart, Moderately or severely immunocompromised people should get an additional primary shot (third dose) at least 28 days after their second shot.
  • Booster Shot: People ages 18 years and older who received a Moderna primary series should get a booster shot at least 6 months after completing their primary series. You can get any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States for your booster shot.
  • Does not contain: Eggs, preservatives, latex
  • Most common side effects: Pain, swelling, and/or redness in the arm where you got the shot, chills, tiredness, muscle pain, fever, nausea, and/or headache
  • Summary of safety data:
    • In clinical trials, reactogenicity symptoms (side effects that happen within 7 days of getting vaccinated) were common but were mostly mild to moderate.
    • Side effects (such as fever, chills, tiredness, and headache) throughout the body were more common after the second dose of the vaccine.
    • Most side effects were mild to moderate. However, a small number of people had severe side effects that affected their ability to do daily activities.
    • CDC will continue to provide updates as we learn more about the safety of the Moderna vaccine in real-world conditions. Learn more about vaccine safety monitoring after a vaccine is authorized or approved for use.

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Name: JNJ-78436735
  • Manufacturer: Janssen Pharmaceuticals Companies of Johnson & Johnson
  • Type of vaccine: Viral vector
  • Number of shots: 1 shot
  • Booster Shot: At least 2 months after receiving your vaccine. You can get any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States for your booster shot. People who developed thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome after their initial Janssen vaccine should not receive a Janssen booster dose.
  • Does not contain: Eggs, Preservatives, Latex
  • Most common side effects: Pain, redness, and/or swelling in the arm where you got the shot, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and/or nausea
  • Summary of safety data

- Adapted from CDC

New York State Phased Distribution of the Vaccine

Eligible residents are:

All individuals 5 years of age and older that reside in the United States are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Initial Booster Dose

  • Children ages 5-11 are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose at least 5 months after completing their primary series.

  • 12 years and older who received their Pfizer-BioNTech initial vaccine series at least five months ago are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster. 

  • 18 years and older who received the Moderna initial vaccine series at least five months ago or the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago are eligible for a booster dose. 
  • The mRNA vaccines are preferentially recommended in most situations over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. You may get Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations.

 

Additional Dose (Third Dose) for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised New Yorkers

  • New Yorkers with moderately to severely compromised immune systems can receive an additional dose (5 and older for Pfizer-BioNTech recipients; 18 and older for Moderna recipients) at least 28 days after the final dose of their vaccine series.

 

Initial Booster Dose (Fourth Dose) for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised New Yorkers

  • Moderately to severely immunocompromised 5 - 11 year olds who received their Pfizer-BioNTech additional dose (third dose) at least three months ago are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose (fourth dose).
  • Moderately to severely immunocompromised 12 years and older who received their Pfizer-BioNTech additional dose (third dose) at least three months ago are eligible for a booster dose (fourth dose) of an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Moderately to severely immunocompromised 18 years and older who received their Moderna additional dose (third dose) at least three months ago are eligible for a booster dose (fourth dose) of an FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Moderately to severely immunocompromised 18 years and older who received an additional dose following a Janssen series (second dose) at least two months ago are eligible for a booster dose (third dose) of an FDA-approve or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Second Booster Dose for Eligible New Yorkers

  • Adults ages 50 years and older may choose to receive a second booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least four months after their first booster dose.
  • New Yorkers ages 18–49 years who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as both their primary series dose and initial booster dose may receive a second booster dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after their first booster dose.
  • New Yorkers ages 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may choose to receive a second booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least four months after their first booster dose.

- New York State

How Was the Vaccine Made and How Does it Work?

Assistance for Seniors

People over the age of 65 who need assistance registering for a vaccine can contact their local office for the aging:

  • Clinton County - 518-565-4620
  • Essex County - 518-873-3695
  • Franklin County - 518-481-1526

How Do I Get the Vaccine?

Step 1: Determine eligibility and schedule an appointment. The Am I Eligible app is the quickest way to see if you're eligible and make an appointment. You can also call the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). Once you have successfully scheduled an appointment, you will receive a confirmation email that contains a barcode. You will need to bring this to your appointment.

Step 2: Complete the Vaccine Form. Once you have a confirmed appointment, you must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form should be filled out online and you will receive a submission ID indicating completion. You will need to bring the submission ID to your appointment. If you cannot submit the form online, it will be available at the vaccination sites.

Step 3: Bring proof of eligibility to your appointment. Depending on your eligibility category, proof can include an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, a pay stub, a driver's license, passport, or any legal proof of your date of birth and residency. See full list below. At the time of your appointment, you'll be asked a series of clinical questions to ensure readiness for a vaccine. You will be asked for insurance information BUT the vaccine is free and there will never be a charge to you. This information is for administrative use only.

Step 4: Your second dose appointment will be scheduled automatically when you receive your first vaccine dose. Your second appointment will be scheduled for the same time and at the same location, three weeks following your first dose. You will receive a card onsite with the date and time indicated and a confirmation email will follow a few days later. Please keep in mind when scheduling your first appointment that your second appointment will occur at the same time of day.

 

Acceptable forms of proof of eligibility

If an individual is eligible due to their employment status, they must prove they are employed in the State of New York. Such proof may include:

• an employee ID card or badge,
• a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or
• a pay stub, depending on the specific priority status.

If an individual is eligible due to their age, they must produce proof of age and proof of residence in New York. To prove New York residence, an individual must show:

• One of the following: State or government-issued ID; Statement from landlord; Current rent receipt or lease; Mortgage records; or
• Two of the following: Statement from another person; Current mail; School records.

For age, such proof may include:

• Driver’s license or non-driver ID;
• Birth certificate issued by a state or local government;
• Current U.S passport or valid foreign passport;
• Permanent resident card;
• Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship;
• Life insurance policy with birthdate; or
• Marriage certificate with birthdate.

 

To show they have comorbidities or underlying conditions, New Yorkers must provide documentation as required by the facility where they are getting vaccinated which must be either:

• Doctor's Letter, or
• Medical Information Evidencing Comorbidity, or
• Signed Certification

- New York State

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
A: No. The vaccines do not contain the actual whole virus (active or inactive), so it is impossible for the vaccine to infect you with the coronavirus.

Q: Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
A: The COVID-19 vaccines have been through rigorous studies to ensure they are as safe as possible. They have been authorized and approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a New York State independent advisory task force. Tens of thousands of volunteers have participated in the clinical trials. The vaccines were found to be safe for people with underlying health conditions. The safety of the vaccines continues to be monitored. Learn more about how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ensuring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Q: Are the vaccines effective?
A: Yes. In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 66% effective at preventing COVID-19, but importantly, it as found to be 85% effective at preventing serious COVID-19 illness and 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines is comparable to other common vaccines, such as poliomeasles and the flu.

Q: Do the vaccines have any serious side effects?
A: No serious side effects of the vaccine have been observed in clinical trials. However, some people may experience muscle aches, fever, fatigue and other mild flu-like symptoms. These are signs that the immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do: it is building up protection to the disease. Side effects generally go away in a day or two. Rarely, individuals may have an allergic reaction to the vaccines. That’s why all vaccinations are administered by health professionals who are prepared for such reactions.

Q: Will my health insurance cover the vaccine?
A: Vaccines will be provided at no cost to patients.

Q: If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?
A: Yes, reinfection is still possible. Limited data is available to discern how long someone is protected after getting COVID-19.

Q: Will the vaccines work against the new strains of COVID-19?
A: Researchers say the current vaccines still provide protection against the new strains of COVID-19, and public health officials still recommend getting the current vaccines.

These new strains, also called variants, are slightly different from the virus that has been making people sick in the United States since spring 2020. They are a concern because they can pass more easily from one person to another, making more people sick at a faster pace than before.

When viruses make new copies of themselves, a process called replication, the new copies sometimes have mistakes in their genetic code. Those mistakes — changes that are called as mutations — can sometimes help the virus survive better. In the new strains, for example, the mutations help the virus spread faster.

A recent study found that the Pfizer vaccine works against two of the new strains. Moderna recently announced that its vaccine is still effective against the UK strain and is developing a booster to protect against the South Africa strain. Researchers continue to study how these and other new versions of the COVID-19 virus are affected by vaccination.

During a recent press briefing, White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that these new strains of the COVID-19 virus make it all the more important to be vaccinated. Not only can the vaccine help protect you from infection, but it can also help slow the virus’s ability to mutate, or change. The virus can only mutate when it can make copies of itself, and it can only do that when it has infected cells. The vaccines help prevent that infection.

Q: Can the vaccines change your DNA?
A: No. The vaccines are not able to alter a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA in the COVID-19 vaccines never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. Learn more about how mRNA works in the COVID-19 vaccines. The adenovector vaccines, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also do not change a person’s genetic makeup, and the adenovirus cannot make copies of itself or make you sick.

Q: Are the vaccines safe for communities of color?
A: Yes. Clinical trials for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines included people of color. Participants in the phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 26.2% Hispanic/Latino, 9.8% African American, 4.4% Asian, and <3% other races /ethnicities. Participants in the Moderna clinical trials were 20% Hispanic /Latino, 9.7% African American, 4.7% Asian, and <3% other races/ethnicities. According to the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the vaccines showed consistent high efficacy (≥92%) across age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories, as well as among individuals who had underlying medical conditions and those with evidence of previous COVID-19 infection.

The National Medical Association, one of the largest national organizations representing Black physicians and their patients, and the National Hispanic Medical Association support the FDA recommendations to approve the COVID-19 vaccines.

Q: What if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
A: Limited data on the safety of COVID vaccines for people who are pregnant is available, and studies in people who are pregnant are planned. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated. Talk to your doctor about what is right for you. Here is a resource to help you as you are making your decision.

Q: Are the vaccines safe for people with autoimmune disorders or other underlying medical conditions?
A: According to the CDC, people who have autoimmune disorders may receive the vaccines, but no data are available yet on the safety of the mRNA vaccines for them. The CDC has compiled some considerations for people with autoimmune disease and other underlying conditions who are deciding whether to receive the vaccine. Discuss your questions and concerns with your doctor.

Q. Will the vaccines work against the new strains of the COVID-19 virus?
A: Researchers say the current vaccines still provide protection against the new strains of COVID-19, and public health officials still recommend getting the current vaccines.

These new strains, also called variants, are slightly different from the virus that has been making people sick in the United States since spring 2020. They are a concern because they can pass more easily from one person to another, making more people sick at a faster pace than before.

When viruses make new copies of themselves, a process called replication, the new copies sometimes have mistakes in their genetic code. Those mistakes — changes that are called as mutations — can sometimes help the virus survive better. In the new strains, for example, the mutations help the virus spread faster.

A recent study found that the Pfizer vaccine works against two of the new strains. Moderna recently announced that its vaccine is still effective against the UK strain and is developing a booster to protect against the South Africa strain. In clinical trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been found to prevent serious illness, including from the new variants of the virus. Researchers continue to study how these and other new versions of the COVID-19 virus are affected by vaccination.

In fact, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health are working together on a clinical trial to see if a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can help boost immunity even more to help protect against the circulating and emerging variants of the COVID-19 virus.

During a recent press briefing, White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that these new strains of the COVID-19 virus make it all the more important to be vaccinated. Not only can the vaccine help protect you from infection, but it can also help slow the virus’s ability to mutate, or change. The virus can only mutate when it can make copies of itself, and it can only do that when it has infected cells. The vaccines help prevent that infection.

- Adapted from Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub and Excellus Our Health Plan

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David Fuller
Contact:
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Local Resources

Assistance with booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments is available for Clinton County residents age 65 and over. Call the Clinton County Office for the Aging at 518-565-4620. The office is open Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.