Vaccines are an important tool in preventing COVID-19.
The vaccine will work for most people, but it will not work for everyone. We do not know yet how long protection will last, or whether someone who is vaccinated can get and spread the virus. We also do not know whether or how often you may need to get revaccinated.
Even after you are vaccinated, you will still need to practice these important COVID-19 prevention steps: stay home if sick, wash your hands, wear a face covering and keep physical distance from others.
Check this page regularly for up-to-date reliable information.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use.
In clinical trials, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were shown to be safe and greater than 94% effective at preventing symptoms and decreasing severe COVID-19 infection among study volunteers.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines work by teaching the body to create an immune response for a virus that is not present in the body. Learn more about the mechanics of this type of vaccine.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require two doses, through shots in the arm, at least 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) apart.
COVID-19 vaccines may not be widely available to the general public until mid-2021. They will be made available in stages.
Some people, such as many health care workers, can get vaccinated by their employer or affiliated hospital. Vaccines are available for eligible groups at some hospitals, community clinics, and pharmacies, and at NYC Health Department and Health + Hospitals vaccination sites around the city.
When there are enough vaccine doses available, it will be made available to all New Yorkers.
The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for people 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine for people 18 and older. Studies in younger children are underway, and the vaccines can be authorized if they are shown to be safe and effective for this age group.
You will need to complete the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form in order to get vaccinated. NYS requires the provider administering the vaccine to check that you completed the form.
Before you visit a site for your vaccination, keep in mind the following tips:
People who are eligible based on their employment must attest that their job requires them to have in-person contact with members of the public or with co-workers, or that they are unable to work remotely. They must also have proof of employment in New York, such as an employee ID card, a letter from their employer or affiliated organization, or a recent pay stub (depending on specific priority status).
If you are eligible for a vaccine based on your age, you must show proof of age and New York residency.
Proof of age may include:
Proof of residency may include:
Learn important information for after you get the vaccine, including tips for before you leave the vaccination site and what to do if you feel side effects:
The Health Department will ensure there is fair and equitable access to a vaccine. Our plans account for health inequities and disparities faced by underserved communities (PDF). We will make sure the communities hit hardest by the pandemic have access to the vaccine.
The FDA is overseeing the approval process for vaccines. It has released safety and efficacy guidelines for companies working on a vaccine. These guidelines make clear that the COVID-19 vaccines under development and in trials must follow the same rigorous safety rules as any other new vaccine.
The FDA will only grant Emergency Use Authorization if it decides the benefits of a vaccine outweigh its potential risks.
Officials will continue monitoring the safety of vaccines after they are made available.
Both vaccines have shown to have mild to moderate side effects, including soreness or swelling on the arm where you got the shot, headache, body aches, tiredness and fever. Side effects usually go away within two to three days, are more common after the second dose and are less common in older adults. The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19.
It is uncommon for people to experience severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. If you have had an allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medicines in the past, or if you think you may be allergic to ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your health care provider before getting vaccinated.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. mRNA are molecules that provide instructions. They do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19.
mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to create an immune response so that the body knows how to fight the virus if it is later exposed to the virus. Once your body learns how to create the immune response, it breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA.