I got the first dose of vaccine. What do I need to know about the second dose?

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States.  Pfizer-BioNTech recipients will receive the doses 21 days apart.  Moderna recipients will receive the doses 28 days apart.  The Johnson and Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. Generally, vaccine providers will schedule the second dose appointment during the first dose administration.  At our County-led PODs (points of dispensing), the second dose appointment is determined by the Ulster County Department of Health.  The appointment should not be rescheduled except under limited circumstances (such as if the patient is mandated to quarantine).  It is optimal to receive the first dose of vaccination when you can also be available for a second dose appointment.

A vaccine that is designated for second dose administration will automatically be allocated and delivered to the vaccine site of the first dose administration.  COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.  People who receive the first dose with one vaccine product must receive the second dose with the same vaccine product.

Because COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling utilizes a State system, the New York State Department of Health will send frequent reminders to all individuals who have received the first dose of a vaccine about their second dose appointments.  Local vaccine providers may also send frequent reminders about second dose appointment information.  So if vaccinated at a County-led POD, you may receive many communications from the State and local health department about the second dose of the vaccine.

While one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine does begin the body’s immune response in fighting the virus, while awaiting the second dose of vaccine, you should continue to use all the tools available to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands often, and social distance (stand at least 6 feet away from other people) to help lower your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.