If you have been waiting patiently for a vaccine to hit the market, the wait is finally over! While there are still certain qualifications required to be able to get the vaccine, you should know what to do once you become eligible, and where to go to make an appointment!
Two of the biggest companies approved to supply the COVID-19 vaccine here in the U.S, Pfizer and Moderna, have defied the odds and somehow managed to bring a viable end to this seemingly unending pandemic.
Many said it couldn't be done in less than two or three years, heck, evidence shows it has really never happened in less than 5! Yet here we are, in January of 2021, less than a full year after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on U.S. soil (in all fairness, scientists have been working on coronavirus vaccines for some time already but it doesn't make this any less impressive).
While many people consider this a welcome development, especially seniors and the most vulnerable to the virus, there are some that have said they are skeptical of the safety of a vaccine that is developed so quickly and some have even said they won't take it! Even if all the evidence and clinical trials point to the safety/efficacy of it. But this article is not for them!
The simple fact is that modern medicine is truly amazing and we have witnessed nothing short of a miracle in the warp speed that these were brought to market. Even more surprising is the fact that multiple companies in other countries have developed their own vaccines in the same short window.
I am the textbook definition of a skeptic, cynic, typical New Yorker, however in the case of the vaccine I am excited and welcoming it with open arms.
(Operation Warp Speed was the name given to the vaccine effort by the previous administration)
If you find yourself asking any one of the following questions, then keep reading because this article is for you! When will it be my turn? How do I sign up? Where can I go to get the vaccine? What should I expect once I get the shot? How do I sign up for the second (booster) shot? What are the potential side effects?
Javits Center Vaccine Clinic
Hopefully, this article will address all your questions and leave you feeling a bit more certain about things as you wait to get your shots.
While the last year has been unprecedented as the world has dealt with the fallout of COVID-19, the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel and all the mask wearing, social distancing, and following strict guidelines has kept us alive long enough to benefit from the advancement of science and technology.
Now let's get down to business. Here are the answers to the most pertinent questions surrounding the newly released COVID vaccines.
Who qualifies for the vaccine today? (REMEMBER, this is for New York State only!)
According to the most recent announcements, you are eligible to receive the vaccine if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Workers in ambulatory care settings not affiliated with a hospital, including primary care, behavioral health, phlebotomy, physical and occupational therapy, specialty clinics, and dialysis centers. This includes all workers with direct contact with patients in ambulatory settings, including licensed health care workers, receptionists, and environmental staff.
- Funeral workers with direct contact with infectious materials and bodily fluids
- Healthcare workers at COVID-testing sites
- Public health workers with direct patient care responsibilities
- Home care workers and aides, hospice workers, personal care aides, and consumer-directed personal care workers.
- Teachers and education workers
- First responders
- Public safety workers
- Public transit workers
- People ages 65 and older
If you answered yes and fall in to one of the categories mentioned in the list above, click on the following link to begin scheduling your vaccination appointment.
How do I sign up?
If you are worried about the process of scheduling your appointment, have no fear! It is a pretty straightforward and simple process. Amazing when you consider that the government is involved!
When you are ready to schedule your appointment, click on the link posted above which will navigate you to a page with multiple yes/no questions. You will be required to answer a series of questions that ask whether or not you have recently had COVID, and whether or not you are susceptible to allergic reactions common with vaccines.
Once you answer the first page of questions (5 in total), you will then be asked to disclose certain information about your employment status as well as a few other bits of personal information. Be prepared to give:
- Your full legal name
- Name of your employer
- Address of employer
- Phone number of Employer
**Heads up, there will be a lot of people trying to schedule their appointment at the same time as you and that could result in the scheduler being glitchy, do not give up! I have heard it take multiple tries in order to find an appointment, so if you do not see anything right away at midnight keep trying!
Where can I get the Vaccine in NY?
For reference, there are vaccine clinics in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, as well as Long Island and the upstate region of the state.
However, this scheduler only covers the five boroughs, but you do not have to live in the city to be able to go to one of their clinics. As long as you meet the qualifications you can travel to any one of the five boroughs that has availability.
How to successfully schedule your appointment!
Now that you have the basics concerning the sign up process for the COVID vaccine, there are some tips that you should be aware of before you start trying to schedule your appointment.. They are as follows:
- New appointments are released on a daily basis, starting at 12am EST.
- Due to the extremely limited availability of appointments, it is important that you do not hesitate and act quickly! Once new appointment times are available at 12am, they will be scooped up in the blink of an eye, some nights in as little as 5 minutes. So it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the website and process in advance. It might even be a good idea to do a 'dry run' or two as practice.
- DO not get hung up on specific locations, unless you are unable to travel, or do not have access to a car, there are many locations all within a short distance of each other. The less time you spend being picky, the better chance you will have to be successful.
- Double check your calendar before you start the process, make sure you are available for the time you choose as rescheduling is not something you want to do unless it is absolutely necessary.
What about the booster shot?
In case you are not aware, the COVID vaccine is given at two separate times.
Once you get the first shot, you will have to go back and get a booster within the next 21 days to complete the inoculation.
While there has been some confusion as to the procedure for scheduling the follow up, I can tell you that you should be proactive and not wait to hear from the clinic or the state.
Make sure to ask the heath care worker at the clinic you visit and get an appointment within the acceptable timeframe!
What are the differences between the vaccines? Does it matter which vaccine I get?
Right now there are two vaccines available in the U.S., one being offered by Moderna and the other Pfizer.
The major difference between vaccines is the manner in which they need to be stored. The Pfizer vaccine can be stored in a regular refrigerator for up to 5 days before it expires and the Moderna vaccine must be stored at super low temperatures, well below freezing, making it more difficult to handle.
Each location providing the vaccine has a contract with one of the pharmaceutical companies and will only be providing that particular vaccine, but as of right now there is no compelling evidence to suggest one over the other.
Last but NOT Least!
The rollout of the vaccine has not been without problems. If you have read the news this week you might have seen announcements by the state that there have been unexpected delays from Moderna due to supply shortages, but do not worry!
Once you have successfully scheduled your appointment it is very important that you keep an eye out for any updates or communication from the state.
In the event that your appointment has to be delayed or postponed, you will be contacted using the telephone number and email address provided during the booking. Make sure you check your email regularly leading up to your appointment and GOODLUCK!
This has been a really difficult time for a lot of families, and many people have died as a result of the pandemic, but now we have a chance to beat it and it starts with you!
In order for the vaccine to make a difference people have to take it and help communities build immunity to the virus. So if you become eligible and are willing to get vaccinated, please do so and let us prevent any more needless deaths!