COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

 

Timing of Your Second Shot

The timing between your first and second shots depends on which vaccine you received.

If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, you should get your second shot 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first.

If you received the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, you should get your second shot 4 weeks (or 28 days) after your first.

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary. You should not get the second dose early. ​There is currently limited information on the effectiveness of receiving your second shot earlier than recommended or later than 6 weeks after the first shot.

However, if you do receive your second shot of COVID-19 vaccine earlier or later than recommended, you do not have to restart the vaccine series. This guidance might be updated as more information becomes available.

Source: CDC

That’s great that you’re fully vaccinated!  You’re helping to bring us another step closer to reaching herd immunity.  But there’s still more to do to ensure everyone in our community is protected from the effects of COVID-19.  Some State guidelines will still apply to you.  Here’s what you need to know right now:

Consistent with recent CDC guidance, asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two doses or one dose, depending on the vaccine product):

  • do not need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination, if exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and between two weeks after and within 3 months of completion of their vaccination and remain asymptomatic.  Please speak candidly with contact tracers and your doctor about your exposure and vaccination status to ensure compliance with these State guidelines.
  • do not need to quarantine after domestic travel during the first 3 months after completion of their vaccination if it is more than two weeks following the final dose and they are asymptomatic.  Travelers may be asked to show proof of vaccination status.

Fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks in public, socially distance from others, avoid large gatherings, get tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms, and follow guidance issued by their employer, the CDC, and the State to ensure everyone’s safety.

There are currently two 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.  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.

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 a 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.

There is a third COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use in the United States.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose of vaccine.

 

COVID-19 vaccination is an evolving process which will take time to implement.  There are regular guidance updates coming from New York State Department of Health, as well as a lag in vaccine supply from the federal government.  State and local provider vaccination programs are still under development.  Is is hard at this point to predict specific timeframes for vaccination.

Currently, Ulster County has the capacity between our two County-led PODs (points of dispensing) to vaccinate up to 50,000 people a month – but nowhere near enough vaccine supply to do so. We will continue to work with state and federal representatives to increase our number of vaccines as quickly as possible.

With the limited vaccination supply that we do have, here is where people that are eligible can receive a vaccine.

  • For those in Phase 1A (Healthcare Workers), your primary point of contact to be vaccinated is your employer.
  • For those in Phase 1B (First Responders & Essential Workers), your primary point of contact to be vaccinated is the Ulster County Health Department. Please register for updates using our Vaccination Notification Form, and as more doses become available you will be notified with a link to schedule an appointment.
  • For Seniors (65+), reach out directly to the pharmacies in Ulster County (click here for a list) to get on their notification forms and waiting lists, so you can schedule appointments as they become available. In addition, you can access the NY State website to attempt to schedule an appointment at State-run sites (the nearest State-run sites are in Albany or Westchester) by clicking here.

We are looking forward to when the supply meets the demand and we can open additional sites. With the recent positive news regarding both the Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca vaccine, we are hopeful that supply will increase in the near future. We ask for your continued patience and remind you to continue to look for information here on our Vaccine Resource Center as well as on our social media channels.

New York State is determining the eligibility criteria for vaccine administration, as well as instructing how vaccines are to be distributed by local providers to the priority groups.  At this time, New York State is vaccinating healthcare workers, first responders and specific essential workers who have increased risk of exposure, and seniors 65+.  If you meet any of these categories, additional underlying conditions do not currently further prioritize you within these groups.

The Ulster County Recovery Service Center does not have the ability to over-ride State guidelines in order to prioritize people.  And the Vaccine Notification Request form on the County’s Vaccine Resource Center is not a waiting list nor a lottery: people are not prioritized in order of when they signed up.  There will be many opportunities to schedule a vaccine appointment in the coming months, and you will remain on the email notification list indefinitely, or until you unsubscribe from it.

We are looking forward to when the supply meets the demand and there will be additional vaccination sites. With the recent positive news regarding both the Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca vaccine, we are hopeful that supply will increase in the near future. We ask for your continued patience and remind you to continue to look for information here on our Vaccine Resource Center as well as on our social media channels.

If you received an email with a link to schedule an appointment at a County-led vaccination POD but all appointments were filled by the time you saw the email notification, or if you had to cancel or miss your appointment for any reason, you will continue to receive subsequent emails as more appointments become available.

The Vaccine Notification Request form on the County’s Vaccine Resource Center is not a waiting list nor a lottery: people are not prioritized in order of when they signed up.  There will be many opportunities to schedule a vaccine appointment in the coming months, and you will remain on the email notification list indefinitely, or until you unsubscribe from it.

The way to distinguish your Vaccine Notification Request form sign-up from other people’s is to use a unique email address for each person.  If you are signing up on behalf of someone else and also want to be contacted yourself, based on different eligibility criteria, you should create a unique email address for each person.  Try a free email service, where you can create a new address to monitor on behalf of someone who does not have an email address and/or is in a different prioritization category.  The Notification Request form can only accommodate one email address per person.

The Vaccine Notification Request Form is for the purposes of sharing updates on vaccine availability and sending messages to those who are currently eligible to receive a vaccine at our County-led PODs (points of dispensing) about how to reserve an appointment.  This does not sign you up for an appointment.

Please note: New York State has directed pharmacies to prioritize the vaccination of our seniors aged 65+ and hospitals to prioritize our  healthcare workers.  Seniors can reach out to their local pharmacy (learn more about local pharmacy providers on our Get Vaccinated page).  For Healthcare Workers, your primary point of contact to be vaccinated is your employer.

Emails from the Vaccine Notification Request form will come from webmailer@co.ulster.ny.us, and may be signed by the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health, County Executive Pat Ryan, or other Ulster County government departments or officials who have information to convey about the COVID-19 vaccine.  Be sure to monitor your email’s spam folder/filters.

Emails have been sent out weekly since the launch of the form.  If you have not received any emails from any of the above, you may have entered the email address incorrectly or signed up multiple people with the same email address.  The Notification Request form can only accommodate one email address per person.  Please redo your sign-up, using a new, unique email address for each person.

Remember, signing up for the Vaccination Notification Request form does not register you for a vaccine appointment. Emails will be sent to let you know as appointments become available, and a separate appointment scheduling link will be provided with instructions on how to register for an appointment when you are eligible to do so and there is a supply of vaccine to be administered.

There will be many opportunities to schedule a vaccine appointment in the coming months, and you will remain on the notification list indefinitely, or until you unsubscribe from it.

A list of vaccination programs currently in progress or under development at Ulster County pharmacies can be found on our Get Vaccinated Page.

A list of State vaccination sites can be found here.

To get updates on our County-led vaccination PODs (points of dispensing), please fill out our Vaccine Notification Request Form.

The Ulster County COVID-19 vaccination POD (point of dispensing) at the Hudson Valley Mall at the former Best Buy location is ADA-accessible.  Additionally, there are a limited number of wheelchairs available for public use.  There is ample parking, as well as a number of designated handicap parking spots adjacent to the entrance.  People who need assistance navigating the POD due to different abilities may be accompanied to their appointments by a companion of their choice.

It is not necessary to let us know ahead of time when someone will be coming who has special needs, as these can be accommodated on site.

Appointments to be vaccinated anywhere in New York State are made using the State’s CDMS system.  After your appointment has been made, you’ll automatically receive an email confirmation from CDMS-NoReply@health.ny.gov.  Check their spam folder, if you don’t immediately receive an appointment confirmation email.  In general, if no appointment confirmation is received, it’s likely that the appointment process was not completed and the appointment was not made.  Please try again using the original link.

In the COVID-19 vaccine appointment confirmation email, there is a link where appointments may be cancelled, if necessary.  Please note, we have heard that it is easy to accidentally click to cancel the vaccine appointment in the confirmation email.  You should not have to click to confirm your appointment – only click to cancel.

If you accidentally or unintentionally cancel your first dose vaccine appointment, the Recovery Service Center is not able to reset that appointment.  Please use the original link sent to you via email to schedule another appointment.  If an appointment is no longer available, and you have signed up for the County’s Vaccine Notification Request form, you will continue to receive emailed links when additional appointments become available.

At the site of your first dose vaccination, you will be guided to make an appointment for your second dose.  If you are having trouble with your second dose appointment after leaving the POD, you may submit issues with second dose vaccine appointments only to the Recovery Service Center at (845) 443-8888 or via email at RSC@co.ulster.ny.us.

After you have made an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination at a County-led POD (point of dispensing), you should receive an email confirmation or vaccine ID number indicating your appointment details.  A print-out of the appointment confirmation or ID number must be presented at the POD for vaccination.  A photo ID and indication of employment (if within a population which requires employment for vaccine eligibility) must be presented, as well.  Indication of employment may include an employment ID card, letter from an employer, or a pay stub, depending upon the specific priority status.

When you have received your first vaccine shot, you will be directed at the POD on how to make an appointment for your second dose.  Please note, COVID-19 vaccine doses are coupled – wherever you receive your first dose is where you will need to get your second dose.

The Ulster County POD at the Kate Walton Field House is ADA-accessible and there are a limited number of wheelchairs available for public use.

The Ulster County POD at the Kate Walton Field House is being coordinated by Ulster County’s Emergency Services and Health Department, according to the most up-to-date COVID guidelines, including capacity restrictions, social distancing, mask enforcement, etc.  The vaccine is being administered by medical professionals with operational support from trained volunteer staff.  A goal of the POD is to provide a safe and efficient vaccination experience for those who are currently eligible.

This does not sign you up for a vaccine appointment.  After you fill out the Vaccine Notification Request form on the County’s Vaccine Resource Center, your information will be added to a County mailing list, and you will receive email updates on vaccination availability, when you may be eligible to receive the vaccine, and how to schedule an appointment.

Emails will come from webmailer@co.ulster.ny.us and may be signed by the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health, County Executive Pat Ryan, or other Ulster County government departments who have information to convey about the COVID-19 vaccine.  Be sure to monitor your email’s spam folder.

Appointments at the County-led vaccination PODs (points of dispensing) are available to NYS-designated priority groups on a first come, first served basis.  If you receive an email with a link to schedule an appointment at a County-led vaccination POD but all appointments are filled by the time you see the email notification, you will continue to receive subsequent emails as more appointments become available.  There will be many opportunities to schedule a vaccine appointment, and you will remain on the email notification list indefinitely, or until you unsubscribe from it.

The current COVID‐19 vaccines available from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson have undergone scientifically rigorous and proven clinical trials involving diverse populations consisting of tens of thousands of volunteers. In all the trials, no serious side effects have been identified in the authorized vaccines. The Federal Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization for the 3 authorized vaccines and here in New York, a COVID‐19 Clinical  Advisory Task Force has conducted an independent safety review of each.

The latest advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people who experienced severe reactions to prior vaccines or injectable drugs can still get the three authorized vaccines for COVID‐19, but should discuss the risks with their healthcare provider first and should be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving a vaccination. Please discuss your concerns and questions with your doctor before proceeding.

GIVEN EXTREMELY LIMITED VACCINE SUPPLIES FROM OUR FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS, WE ARE DOING OUR BEST TO ACCOMMODATE EVERYONE’S NEEDS. WE KNOW THAT EVERYONE IS CONCERNED ABOUT WAIT TIMES, BUT PLEASE BE PATIENT AS WE WORK TO MOVE THROUGH THIS PROCESS AS QUICKLY AND FAIRLY AS POSSIBLE. THANK YOU!

Per CDC and NYS guidelines Ulster County has established a prioritization/registration system, based on health risk and projected supply, as follows:
Group Red – Residents over the age of 75 with a qualifying health condition, and 1B essential workers with an underlying condition
Estimated time for vaccination: April*
Group Orange – Residents ages 65 to 74 with an underlying health condition, and essential workers without an underlying health condition
Estimated time for vaccination: June*
Group Yellow – Adults (all ages) with a qualifying health condition, and 65 + without qualifying health condition
Estimated time for vaccination: October*
Group Green – Any other priority group as directed by the NYSDOH
 Estimated time for vaccination: TBD
*Estimated times of vaccination are based on current supply of vaccines.
As directed by the NYSDOH, adults over the age of 65 without a qualifying health condition should receive their vaccines at participating pharmacies or by making an appointment at a state-run vaccination site. A list of those pharmacies can be found here.

Residents looking to join the pre-registration list should go here to sign up. Residents who have already signed up will be provided information on their vaccination group and follow-on instructions within the coming days.

The COVID vaccine trials have excluded particularly high‐risk or vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and the immunocompromised. However, subsequent studies are already underway to determine whether the COVID-19 vaccines are effective and appropriate for these groups. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it “recommends that COVID‐19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals”, however, it does not say that pregnant women should get it. If you are pregnant or are in one of these groups,  you should discuss this question further with your healthcare provider. Also, by the time you become eligible, more definitive information may be available to help guide your decision.

At this time, children under age 18 in New York State cannot get the vaccines. Ongoing research is taking place regarding the safety and efficacy of administering COVID-19 vaccines to children.

New York State has already administered nearly 1.3 million first doses of vaccine. Additional vaccine supplies are arriving weekly and additional vaccine administration sights are opening across New York. The Federal government has also recently increased vaccine deliveries to the states by 16% and ordered an additional 100 million doses each of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which should be available within 6 months. When all vaccine orders across the nation have finally been delivered, it will constitute a sufficient cumulative supply to accommodate every American adult who wished to get vaccinated.

However at the present time, compared to the overall demand, supplies of vaccines throughout NYS and all of its counties are limited. Currently, 7 million New Yorkers are eligible, yet all of NYS only receives an average of 300K doses, per week. Consequently,  who can become eligible to be placed into the vaccination queue is still being prioritized.  Eligibility does not mean that you will get an immediate appointment. If you would like to be notified if and when you are eligible to get vaccinated and when an appointment may be available, please click here and fill out the online information form.

This is the current, statewide priority matrix:

Phase 1A (currently in progress)

Eligible New Yorkers in Phase 1A are:

  • High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff)
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities
  • Federally Qualified Health Center employees
  • EMS workers
  • Coroners, medical examiners and certain funeral workers
  • Staff and residents at OPWDD, OMH and OASAS facilities
  • Urgent Care providers
  • Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff
  • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care
  • All staff who are in direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations

This includes, but is not limited to,

  • Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff
  • Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff
  • Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff
  • Registered Nurses
  • Specialty medical practices of all types
  • Dentists and Orthodontists and their staff
  • Psychiatrists and Psychologists and their staff
  • Physical Therapists and their staff
  • Optometrists and their staff
  • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Aides
  • Home care workers
  • Hospice workers
  • Staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive COVID vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program

Phase 1B (starts on Jan. 11, along with ongoing 1A)

While vaccinations for the health care sector are being completed, New York will move to Phase 1B of the distribution, which will include:

  • Teachers and education workers
  • First responders
  • Public safety workers
  • Public transit workers
  • People 65 and older

 

Beginning February 15, 2021:

Adult New Yorkers of any age with the following conditions qualify for the vaccine:

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

The list is subject to change as additional scientific evidence is published and as New York State obtains and analyzes additional state-specific data.

Phase 1C: All other essential workers.

Phase 1D: Healthy adults and children 18 years of age and older.

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.  Please check with your doctor for further information.

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID‐19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often,  and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID‐19 vaccination and following the  CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID‐19.

“Herd immunity” is a term used to describe when enough people have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination—that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves.

Initial estimates from the World Health Organization indicated that at least 70% of a given population would have to be vaccinated in order to achieve “herd immunity”. However, many scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have revised the initial estimate upward to the 70 to 90% range. The bottom line is that the more people who get vaccinated in a community, the greater the chances are of diminishing the spread of the disease to the point where it can be managed and no longer presents a public health crisis.

The vaccine will be provided to you free of charge. Depending on where you receive the vaccine your insurance may be charged.

Currently, New York State is not mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.