COVID-19: Vaccines

Recent News

Two Vaccines Show Promising Results in Trials

Two ongoing trials have reported their vaccines are about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. The vaccines, from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, are both in the third of four trial phases. They work by tricking the body into creating an immune response for a virus that is not present in the body.

No serious safety concerns have been found for either vaccine. Each vaccine has shown only minor side effects, such as injection site pain, fatigue and headache.

If the vaccines are approved, they will each require two doses, through shots in the arm, three or four weeks apart.

Other Vaccine Results Expected in 2020

Two other vaccines — from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen — are also in Phase 3 trials. The firms will likely release the initial results from those trials later this year.


There is no approved COVID-19 vaccine available yet. A vaccine may become available later this year or in early 2021. Once available, vaccines will become important tools in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

We do not know yet how well a vaccine will prevent COVID-19 infections or how long any protection will last. We also do not know how often you will need to get vaccinated, or if the vaccine will affect some populations differently (such as different age groups).

Even after you are vaccinated, you will still need to practice these important COVID-19 prevention steps (PDF): 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.

When and Where to Get Vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines may not be widely available to the general public until mid-2021.

After a vaccine is approved, it will likely be given first to people who work in health care and are at increased risk of getting COVID-19. This includes people who take care of COVID-19 patients or work in areas of a facility where COVID-19 patients are seen.

The vaccine may next be available to the following groups:

  • Nursing home residents
  • People at high risk of complications from COVID-19 because of age or underlying medical conditions
  • Essential workers who interact with the public and who are not able to physically distance

When there are enough vaccine doses available, it will be made available to all New Yorkers.

You will likely be able to get the vaccine at the same places you usually get vaccines, such as:

  • Your health care provider
  • Community and hospital clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Urgent care centers

Some COVID-19 testing sites and community pop-up locations may also provide vaccinations.

Fair and Equitable Vaccinations

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 will have access to the vaccine.

Safety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is overseeing the approval process for vaccines. It has released safety and efficacy guidelines for companies working on a vaccine. As these guidelines make clear, the COVID-19 vaccines under development and in trials must follow the same rigorous safety rules as any other new vaccine.

A few vaccines are in the final stages of clinical trials. Manufacturers will likely request an Emergency Use Authorization that would allow select groups to receive a vaccine before it is licensed. The FDA will only grant such authorization if it decides the benefits of a vaccine outweigh its potential risks.

Side Effects

Ongoing trials of COVID-19 vaccines have reported mostly mild or moderate symptoms after vaccination, including fever, body aches and soreness at the injection site. The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19.

Additional Resources

More Information