Where can I find a full list of who is eligible for the vaccine?
NYS DOH has recently expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine. People in Phase 1a and 1b are eligible, as well as those with certain medical conditions. However, per the NYS DOH site:
Due to limited supply from the federal government, it could take up to 14 weeks for eligible New Yorkers to schedule a vaccination appointment. As supply increases, there will be more appointments available. We encourage New Yorkers to be patient as we wait for more vaccine supply.
When you are able to secure an appointment, self-attestation will be allowed by most vaccination locations. This means you will not need a doctor’s letter to get your vaccine, instead you will sign off that you are eligible. However, check with your vaccine location for requirements before your scheduled appointment.
At this time CareMount does not have COVID-19 vaccine although each week we ask NY State to distribute vaccine to our offices.
How will the vaccine be distributed?
NY State has developed multiple phases for distribution of the vaccine in New York. For how this affects you, learn more here.
Is the vaccine approved for use in children?
The FDA’s authorization for people receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine includes people 16 and older. Moderna’s vaccine received authorization for individuals 18 and older. Researchers have yet to begin clinical trials in children under 12. Trials in teens have just recently started.
If I’m pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive, can I get vaccinated?
Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those planning to conceive should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their provider. Read more from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and NYS.
Will I have to pay to get vaccinated? / How much will the vaccine cost?
Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost.
There may be a small administration fee, but most health insurance companies will cover this.
Why should I get vaccinated?
Vaccines are one of the most effective tools to protect your health and prevent disease. Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses so your body will be ready to fight the virus, if you are exposed (also called immunity). Other steps, like wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth and staying at least 6 feet away from other people you don’t live with, also help stop the spread of COVID-19.
I recovered from COVID-19. Do I still need to get vaccinated?
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, the vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. You must wait 90 days after having COVID before you can get the vaccine.
Will these vaccines work to prevent COVD-19 for a specific time frame? Will I need to get vaccinated every year, as with the flu? / How long will immunity last after I get vaccinated?
As of yet, studies have not shown how long immunity from the vaccine will last.
Can we stop wearing masks and social distancing after getting vaccinated?
No. Mask-wearing and social distancing are still necessary. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
Is the COVID vaccine safe?
Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna) which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials.
The vaccine was developed so rapidly. How do I know it went through rigorous testing?
Vaccines have very high safety standards, and the vaccines in development to prevent COVID-19 are no exception. Vaccines are approved by the FDA for use only if they have proven safe and effective in a large group of people. Although the search for and development of the COVID-19 vaccines are happening very quickly, the FDA has made the safety standards and approval process even tougher than usual. The FDA set minimum requirements for the effectiveness of products to approve only those vaccines that could offer immunity to the majority of the population.
How effective are the vaccines?
According to Phase 3 trials, the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective 7 days after the second dose. The Moderna vaccine is 94% effective 14 days after the second dose. These results were consistent across gender, age, race, and ethnicity.
How do the vaccines work?
COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19. It’s important to note that these vaccines don’t contain the COVID virus. They cannot give you COVID. Rather, they give your immune system a practice run at taking out a small part of the virus, the spike that the virus uses to get into our cells. Again, there is no virus in these vaccines.
How many doses of the vaccine are there?
There are 2 doses of the vaccine. For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 21 days between the first and second dose. And for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 28 days between the first and second dose. The CDC continues to recommend that people get their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine as close to the recommended interval as possible (3 weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech, and one month for Moderna). However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.
Why is it necessary to get a second dose of the vaccine?
It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. The first shot gets your body ready. The second shot is given at least three weeks later to make sure you have full protection.
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, cancer, 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.
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.
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.
What side effects might I expect?
The vaccines may cause side effects in some people, like sore muscles, feeling tired, or mild fever. These reactions mean the vaccine is working to help teach your body how to fight COVID-19 if you are exposed. For most people, these side effects will last no longer than a day or two. Having these types of side effects does NOT mean that you have COVID-19. Click here to learn more about what to expect after getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including normal side effects and tips to reduce pain or discomfort.
Breast Imaging and the COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines (as well as other vaccines) can cause temporary enlarged/swollen lymph nodes in the underarm area (axillary lymphadenopathy) on the same side as where the vaccination was received. This is a normal immune response that will not interfere with breast cancer detection. The Breast Imaging Team at CareMount is following guidance from the Society of Breast Imaging that, if this response is noted, we are recommending a 3 month follow up ultrasound of the affected underarm to document resolution of the lymphadenopathy. When planning a routine breast screening appointment, patients should indicate that they would like an appointment either before receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or 6 weeks after receiving the second vaccine dose.
Are there measures in place to monitor for adverse reactions at the time I get the vaccine?
The CDC recommends monitoring people at the time they are vaccinated:
• 15 minutes for anyone getting vaccinated and at least 30 minutes for those who have had severe allergic reactions or any type of allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy. Click here for additional information.
• CDC: V-safe — is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe uses text messaging and web surveys from CDC to check in with vaccine recipients following COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also provides second vaccine dose reminders if needed, and telephone follow up to anyone who reports medically significant (important) adverse events.
Should I be concerned about allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines?
If you have a history of allergic reactions to vaccines, talk to your healthcare provider before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC has learned of reports that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
If I have a reaction/experience side-effects to the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, should I still get the second?
If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose but it is best to speak with your healthcare provider.
Will the vaccine make me sterile?
No, the vaccine will not make you sterile. This rumor, along with others, is being spread on the internet to scare people away from the vaccine. There is no evidence to back up these claims.
Are there other vaccines on the horizon?
Clinical trials for other vaccines are in progress. For more information visit the CDC website.
The above information is sourced from the following sites: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NYS Department of Health, Pfizer, Moderna, American Cancer Society, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.