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Everything we know about the coronavirus vaccine in NYC

COVID-19 vaccines are here—here's what New Yorkers need to know.

Shaye Weaver
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Shaye Weaver
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New Yorkers were given an initial glimmer of hope on December 14, when a New York City critical care nurse was given the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel clicked on and we could all suddenly see an eventual end in sight. Every week, both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been announcing plans for how the state and city will roll out the vaccine, from who can get it and where.

All New Yorkers 16 and older are now eligible to get the vaccine, and finally, both city- and state-run vaccine sites across the boroughs are allowing walk-ins for those 16 and older.

Here's everything we know about the city's vaccine allotment, who will be prioritized and when New Yorkers can expect to gain access to the vaccine. 

RECOMMENDED: This new site finds the latest NYC vaccine appointments from 43 city and state-run sites

How many doses of the vaccine does New York City have?

As of March 22, about 6 million doses have been administered.

Who can get the vaccine right now?

  • People 16 and older
  • teachers and education workers
  • first responders
  • public safety workers
  • public transit workers
  • high-risk hospital workers
  • nursing home residents and staff
  • federally qualified health center employees, coroners, medical examiners, funeral workers
  • urgent care center employees,
  • COVID-19 vaccine administrators
  • residents of office of addiction services and supports facilities
  • restaurant workers
  • taxi drivers
  • workers at facilities for the developmentally disabled
  • New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions 
    • 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

You'll have to bring a doctor's letter, medical information evidencing comorbidity, or signed certification to the facility where you're getting your vaccination.

    • Members of the food and hospitality industries are able to be vaccinated, including regional food bank paid or unpaid workers, food pantry paid or unpaid workers, permitted home-delivered meal program paid or unpaid workers, and hotel workers who have direct contact with guests.
  • Government employees
  • non-profit workers
  • essential building service workers 
  • Public-facing government and public employees
  • Not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need
  • Essential in-person public-facing building service workers (does not include workers at construction sites)

You can see all of the eligibilities here.

Where will you need to go to get a vaccine?

Like any other vaccine, you can get it at community and hospital clinics, pharmacies and some COVID-19 testing sites and community pop-up locations, which you can find here.

The state has also set up COVID-19 vaccination sites at bigger facilities like the Javits Center, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, Brooklyn Army Terminal, and at SUNY and CUNY campuses.

To see what site is the closest, you can now input your address or zip code at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov to find the nearest vaccine provider. From there, you can schedule an appointment on the respective vaccination center sites.

You can also check TurboVax, a website that tracks open appointments and tweets them out as soon as they open.

Do you need an appointment to get a vaccine?

No. As of Thursday, April 29, you do not need an appointment to get a vaccine in NYC. 

How much will the vaccine cost?

It is free for everyone. If you have insurance, it may be billed but you will not be charged a copay or any other fee. Just be sure to double-check with your healthcare provider.

Will the city be tracking who does and does not get vaccinated?

No. You won't need to share your immigration status to be vaccinated. Your privacy will be protected. There are strict laws in place to ensure the confidentiality of your personal information, according to the city.

Should you get a vaccine if you already had COVID-19?

Since it is possible to get COVID-19 again, you should be vaccinated. Also, the vaccine may boost the protection your body has already built up. But, if you tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you should wait to get the vaccine, since it is unlikely that you will get COVID-19 again during this time. 

Do you still need to practice social distancing after receiving the vaccine?

Yes! While the vaccines are highly effective, none are 100 percent effective, which means that COVID-19 transmission will still be possible as people are vaccinated. The CDC recommends continuing to wash your hands frequently and maintain 6 feet of distance from others even after you have received both doses of the vaccine. Whenever you're in public and around unvaccinated people, continue to wear a mask.

Do you still need to wear a mask around other vaccinated people?

The CDC says no, you don't need to wear a mask if everyone around you is fully vaccinated (meaning everyone is past two weeks from their second dose). If you're going to be out in public or near people who are not vaccinated, you still need to wear one.  If you have more questions about how to navigate social interactions after being vaccinated, check out hopkinsmedicine.org for some tips.

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