COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

 

COVID-19 booster doses are now approved by the FDA, CDC, and New York State Department of Health for all vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) updated emergency use authorizations (EUA), the CDC issued recommendations for a single booster dose 6 months after completion of the primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for the following individuals:

  • Age 65 years of age and older
  • Age 18 and older who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18 and older who work or live in high-risk settings

The CDC has also issued recommendations for a single booster dose for those individuals who previously received a primary dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, at least 2 months after the administration of the first dose.

It is recommended that the booster dose be given using the same vaccine manufacturer that the person received for the primary series. If the same product used for the primary series is no longer available, or a different COVID-19 vaccine is desired, any FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine can be used for the booster dose, according to FDA and CDC guidance. Please consult with your primary care physician to determine what is the best option for COVID-19 booster for you.

All three COVID-19 vaccine boosters (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) will be available at the Ulster County Department of Health’s POD at the former Best Buy at the Hudson Valley Mall beginning Friday, October 29thAppointments are helpful but walk-ins are welcome.

If you’ve lost your vaccination card or if it needs to be edited, ask the administrator who gave you the COVID-19 vaccination if they can issue you a new card and/or edit your information.

If you need further assistance, the Ulster County Department of Health (DOH) has the ability to mail a paper copy of your vaccination record from the State’s immunization records system called NYSIIS.  However, the DOH can not make edits to vaccination records that were not administered by Ulster County DOH.  To request this DOH service, call the Ulster County Recovery Service Center (RSC) at 845-443-8888.

 

A copy of your vaccination card will show your name, the vaccine product received, and date of dose(s), which should suffice.  It can be helpful to take a photo of your vaccination card and keep it on your smart phone.

New York State has a free app called the Excelsior Pass, which can be downloaded at the App Store or Google Play, where residents can securely present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.

Fully vaccinated is defined as being 2 or more weeks after the final dose (e.g. first for Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, second for Pfizer and Moderna) of the vaccine approved by the FDA or authorized by the FDA for emergency use.

Asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.  Fully vaccinated individuals exposed to COVID-19 who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must isolate themselves and should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19 and tested for COVID-19, if indicated.  This guidance applies to all fully vaccinated people.  However, particularly when a school nurse has identified someone as a close contact of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, the individual will need to be cleared by the local health department.

Individuals should consult with their healthcare provider, if they have questions about their individual situation, such as immunocompromising conditions or other concerns.

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 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.

 

 

COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available to Ulster County residents, age 12 and older, at state and county public vaccination clinics, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and other locations throughout the community.

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.

For details on available vaccination locations and sites, in and around Ulster County, click here

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 your 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 can reactivate your appointment.

Your second dose appointment will automatically be scheduled after your first dose vaccination for the same time either 21 or 28 days later, depending on the vaccine product.

If you need help with vaccine appointments, call the Recovery Service Center at (845) 443-8888 or email 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/or consent for a minor, must be presented, as well.

When you have received your first vaccine shot, you will be automatically scheduled for your second dose appointment.

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 generally still get the three authorized vaccines for COVID‐19, but should discuss the risks with their healthcare provider first and should notify the staff at the vaccination site before getting vaccinated so that they can be monitored for adverse reactions for a full 30 minutes before leaving.

Please discuss your concerns and questions with your doctor before proceeding.

The initial COVID vaccine trials excluded particularly high‐risk or vulnerable populations, including pregnant women and the immune-compromised. More recent studies indicate that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective and appropriate for these groups, however, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 or any other vaccines, you should consult your healthcare provider before taking action.

At this time, children ages 12 and up in New York State can be vaccinated. Ongoing research is taking place regarding the safety and efficacy of administering COVID-19 vaccines to younger children.

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.

“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.