What should I know about COVID-19 vaccines?

COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective way to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to everyone 12 years of age and older regardless of insurance or immigration status.

To schedule an appointment in New York State, visit these sites:

NYS: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/

NYC:  https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov/

Long Island: https://www.northwell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States.  All 3 greatly reduce your chances of getting very sick with COVID-19. It takes about 2 weeks following a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for you to be fully protected against COVID-19. 

Yes.  The COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved for children aged 12 years and older. The vaccine is important for reducing COVID-19 risk because some children who get COVID may get very sick, be hospitalized, and experience symptoms that last for weeks or months. Even very young children can transmit COVID to others. This is true even when they do not have COVID symptoms. Even though most children who get COVID-19 do not become very sick, vaccination is important to protect them from rare complications of infection. Because children can spread COVID-19, vaccination is necessary to protect the entire population.

Vaccine approval for children aged 5 to 12 years is expected soon.  Clinical trials are now investigating the use of the vaccine in children as young as 6 months. 

Stay up to date on COVID vaccinations for children with information from the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Some individuals experience side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine including mild to moderate headache, fever, and fatigue that resolves within a day or two. Side effects were more common after the second dose of the mRNA vaccines as well as after the single Johnson & Johnson shot.

In large clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccines were found to be safe with no serious health effects. Following approval of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, very rare but serious blood clots were observed, mostly in women under the age of 50. Women under 50 should be aware of this small but increased risk. No increased risk of blood clots have been observed for the mRNA vaccines so these remain a very good option for women under 50. The CDC continues to closely monitor all vaccines for safety.

Rare cases of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, were seen in a very small number of teens and young adults after receiving an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer).  The vast majority of these cases were seen in boys after the second dose and were mild.  Myocarditis can also result from COVID infection. After careful review, the FDA determined that the benefits of vaccination against COVID infection outweigh the extremely rare risk of myocarditis. 

After you are fully vaccinated there is still a low risk that you may become infected and spread COVID-19. For this reason, it is still important for you to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Get more information from the CDC  about what you can do safely after you are vaccinated.