COVID-19 Vaccine Information
IMPORTANT NOTE: We currently have no vaccines on site. When vaccine allotment becomes available, we will notify the general public through the news media, social media and other means necessary to inform eligible recipients.
We are doing everything we can to responsibly vaccinate as many people as possible, while following specific NYS guidelines. The health and safety of our patients, community and healthcare teams are our top priority.
In the meantime, it’s important for all of us to stay vigilant and continue to wear masks, social-distance and wash our hands frequently as the pandemic continues.
New York State Tiered Distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine
There is currently a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, so it will take time to vaccinate everyone who wants to receive it. The CDC has established a framework to make the vaccine available in a phased approach. Exact time frames have not been determined.
Stay informed by visiting this page or the NYS COVID-19 website.
Are you eligible?
New York State has launched an "Am I Eligible" online tool to help New Yorkers determine their eligibility, connect them with administration centers and schedule appointments. To find out if you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
Schedule Your Vaccination Appointment Now!
*Due to significant call volume, assume there will be time spent on hold.
If you have completed the "Am I Eligible" questionnaire above, or if you are in the current priority audiences established by New York State, please schedule your appointment by calling the NYS phone number above or by using the Vaccination Site links below. Please note, no walk-in appointments are available. If the current supply of vaccine has been used, you will receive a response of "Event Full". We are getting vaccine shipments on a regular basis, so check back daily to see if more appointments have been made available. You will receive a confirmation of your appointment.
Vaccination Process - Frequently Asked Questions
How much will it cost to get vaccinated against COVID-19?
There is no charge for vaccine.
While there is no charge for the vaccine, there will be a bill sent to your insurance company for the administration. There is no copay and no deductible. If you do not have insurance, you will not be charged.
How is the vaccine given?
The vaccine is given as an injection in the arm. Typically, the vaccine is done with two doses given 3 or 4 weeks apart. After your first dose, you will get a vaccination card to show you when to return for your second dose. Remember to bring your card when you return.
After you have scheduled your appointment please bring the following documents with you to your appointment:
- Government issued photo ID
- Insurance card (Insurance is being billed, there is no co-pay and no charge if you do not have medical insurance)
- Verification of your eligibility to be vaccinated in the current phase
- Work ID badge with title (MD, RN, PA, NP, PT, etc.)
- Letter from your employer identifying your eligibility
As we move into other phases of vaccination this information will continue to be be updated.
What should I do to keep myself safe while waiting to get vaccinated and after I get vaccinated?
Continue to cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay 6 feet away from others who are not in your household, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often. All of these precautions must continue as you wait for the second dose and as we wait for a majority of the population to be vaccinated. Everyone must continue to use all the tools available to us to stop this pandemic as experts continue to learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide us.
The duration of protection from the vaccine against COVID-19 is unknown. Additional assessments of the vaccine are needed to know how often vaccination must be repeated to provide protection.
Both of the currently approved vaccines require a second dose to increase their effectiveness. The Pfizer vaccine second dose should be 21 days after the first shot, and the Moderna vaccine’s second shot should be taken 28 days after the first.
What happens if I don’t get the second shot on time?
The schedule for doses of each vaccine is based on data from clinical trials. Everyone who receives a first dose of the vaccine should get the second dose according to schedule in order to provide the best possible protection against the disease.
There have not been enough studies to know if a delayed second shot will still reach the full effectiveness or each vaccine. When each vaccine is taken on their recommended schedule, they are extremely effective in preventing COVID-19.
Phased Distribution: Guiding Principles
NYS Phased Distribution of the Vaccine
New York State will distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in phases based on need and risk.
New Yorkers who are more likely to be exposed to the virus, and who are more likely to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19, will be offered the vaccine first. Both the federal government and New York State have developed plans to ensure that everyone will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available, at no cost no matter where they live.
Thousands of health care providers will be able to offer vaccination, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) of priority groups. The State Department of Health will share additional information on where New Yorkers can get vaccinated as more vaccine doses become available.
New York State based its COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration process on ten guiding principles.
- Safety: New York State will only endorse and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine if it is determined to be safe and will only be used according to the indication under which it received its authorization or license. This includes continued monitoring and reporting of adverse events after the vaccine is licensed and administered.
- Effectiveness: New York State will only endorse and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine if it is demonstrated to be appropriately effective in the populations intended for use.
- Expert approved: New York State will rely on the advice and counsel of recognized clinical experts and scientists to review and approve the safety and effectiveness of every vaccine that is authorized by the federal government for distribution.
- Equitable & clinically driven distribution: New York State’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan will be based on standards that prioritize people at higher risk of exposure, illness and/or poor outcome. Unrelated factors, such as wealth or status, will not influence distribution.
- Transparency: Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the state’s daily public presentation of facts and reliance on science and medical expertise helped build public trust and confidence in government action. New York State will continue to be transparent regarding all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring process to ensure New Yorkers are fully informed.
- Use of Data: Coordination of a successful vaccination program will require robust tracking, data and analytics capabilities. New York State will use powerful data and information technology platforms to guide all parts of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration process to maximize safety, accuracy, and efficiency and meet all federal reporting requirements — all while maintaining patient privacy.
- Privacy and Patient Safety: New York State will ensure all vaccination processes prioritize patient safety, and all information systems guarantee patient privacy. Vaccination does not take away the importance of other public health measures that have served us well in the fight against COVID-19. New Yorkers will be urged to continue to practice social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and other measures.
- Partnership, Coordination & Public Outreach: New York State recognizes that coordination with local organizations and community providers is essential to the safe and successful distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. The state’s outreach efforts will especially focus on reaching underserved, hard to reach, and vaccine-hesitant populations, as well as those at highest risk for COVID-19 infection and poor outcomes.
- State Leadership: New York State expects federal engagement on vaccine vetting, distribution, administration, and funding. However, regardless of the level of federal engagement, New York State will take all necessary steps and require local coordination with the state’s centralized approach to ensure an efficient and organized vaccine distribution.
- NEW YORK TOUGH: Throughout this COVID-19 crisis, New Yorkers have shown that there is nothing we cannot do if we work together as one community. Our approach to the COVID-19 vaccine will be tough, strong, united, disciplined, and loving.
Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program
New York has opted into the federal government's Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 vaccination. Under the federal program, employees of CVS, Walgreens and other select pharmacies will vaccinate residents and staff in long-term care facilities including nursing homes, much like they do for the flu vaccine.
With the first deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine already here, the federal program is slated to begin on December 21. New York is dedicating a portion of its initial allotment of 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to this program. Portions of future state allocations will also be used to help complete the program and ensure all residents and staff at long-term care facilities are vaccinated.
COVID-19 Vaccines - Frequently Asked Questions
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. The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been approved by both the FDA and New York State's independent Clinical Advisory Task Force.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How was the vaccine developed so quickly?
There are many factors that combined to allow the COVID-19 vaccine to be developed quickly and safely:
- Researchers got a head start on developing a vaccine because the virus that causes COVID-19 is similar to other existing viruses.
- Research about the new virus was shared almost immediately with scientists all over the world, which allowed work to begin on a vaccine right away.
- Some researchers were able to run phase one and two trials at the same time.
- The studies on COVID-19 included a larger number of people than other recent vaccine trials, larger number of people over a shorter period of time.
- The federal government allowed manufacturing of the most promising vaccines to begin while the studies were ongoing. That means that when it is approved it can be offered to the public almost immediately.
It’s important to note that all vaccine developers are required to go through each stage of the development process and meet all safety and efficacy (how well something works) standards. Learn about the many steps in the typical vaccine testing and approval process.
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.
Who gets the vaccine first?
New York State will distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in phases based on need and risk. New Yorkers who are more likely to be exposed to the virus, and who are more likely to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19, will be offered the vaccine first. Both the federal government and New York State have developed plans to ensure that everyone will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available, at no cost no matter where they live.
The first New Yorkers to receive the vaccine as part of Phase 1 will be high-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff), nursing home residents, nursing home staff, followed by all long-term and congregate care residents and staff, EMS workers, other health care workers, coroners and medical examiners.
Will there be more than one vaccine available?
More than one vaccine is expected in the U.S.
Four vaccines were in Phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S.
Phase 3 trials are conducted with large numbers of people to study whether a vaccine is safe and how well it works.
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.
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.
Will I be required to get a vaccine?
New York State is not mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.
What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Currently, there are limited data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for women who are pregnant. While studies have not yet been done, based on how mRNA vaccines work experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant. mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with genetic material DNA because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell. Cells break apart the mRNA quickly. However, the potential risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and her fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women.
Pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
Observational data demonstrate that, while the chances for these severe health effects are infrequent, pregnant women with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness, including illness that results in ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and death. Additionally, pregnant women with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm births.
Key considerations pregnant patients can discuss with their healthcare provider include:
- The likelihood of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
- Risks of COVID-19 to them and potential risks to their fetuses
- What is known about the vaccine: how well it works to develop protection in the body, known side effects of the vaccine, and lack of data during pregnancy
COVID-19 vaccination considerations for people who are breastfeeding
There are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. People who are breastfeeding and are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated. If they have questions around getting vaccinated while breastfeeding, a discussion with a healthcare provider might help them make an informed decision.
Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19
- COVID-19 vaccines are carefully evaluated in clinical trials and are authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
- Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination will be a safer way to help build protection
- COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
- Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines had to show they are safe and effective before any vaccine could be authorized or approved for use. The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine had to outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine for use under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Watch a video on what an EUA is.
- Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
- Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic
- Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
- The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
- Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. As experts learn more about how COVID-19 vaccination may help reduce spread of the disease in communities, CDC will continue to update the recommendations to protect communities using the latest science.
Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19
None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests
Vaccines approved for use in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
FACT: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.
At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.
Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
FACT: Getting vaccinated can help prevent getting sick with COVID-19
While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or they may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. If you get sick, you also may spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you while you are sick. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
FACT: Receiving an mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA
mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
VIDEO: How Vaccines are Developed
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: COVID-19 vaccines are within sight in the United States! Scientists continue making progress in testing and monitoring COVID-19 vaccines for safety and effectiveness, and the federal government is ensuring that all adults who want a vaccine will be able to get one at no cost. Learn how these and other vaccines are developed, tested, and authorized for use – and how they work to prevent diseases like COVID-19. This video uses interviews and visuals to help viewers understand the science behind vaccines and why there is reason for optimism. For more information, visit http://www.coronavirus.gov.
Reminder: Hospital visiting is still restrictedJanuary 12, 2021
Check the UHS website directly for visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual screenings are available as well.
First COVID-19 vaccines given at UHS Chenango Memorial HospitalDecember 23, 2020
On Tuesday, December 22, Dr. Jason Joseph became the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Chenango County.
Thanks to Teng family, thousands of masks come to UHSDecember 23, 2020
UHS has increased its supply of COVID-19 masks, thanks to a family connection and a generous donation that links medical supply companies on Long Island with UHS’ warehouse in the Southern Tier.
UHS' Dr. Jones among first to get vaccinated for COVID-19December 23, 2020
An infectious disease specialist was one of the first members of the UHS team to get the vaccine for COVID-19 on Dec. 19. Zachary Jones, MD, joined several other regional providers to get in line for the shot.