Vaccine FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccinations - What You Need to Know


Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes. Extensive clinical trials were conducted with thousands of participants for the FDA to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. This was a thorough process and no steps were skipped in the trials. In addition, New York State has set up a task force to review the vaccine before distribution in New York, and our own experts have reviewed the information.

Can I contract COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. It is impossible for the vaccine to give you COVID-19; it does not contain the live SARSCoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

What are some of the reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine?

While some people have no reaction to the vaccine, sometimes after vaccination the process of building immunity can cause symptoms. These symptoms are normal and not dangerous. The most common reactions reported are soreness or redness at the injection site. Besides fever, less common reactions include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint aches and sometimes fever. These reactions occur for a limited time, are more likely to be experienced with the second dose, and can be treated with Tylenol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). You will receive more information at the time of vaccination.

I have more questions about the vaccine or vaccinations. Who should I contact?

Please check, for the latest updates. If you still have questions, you may call the WHS COVID Hotline at 646-697- 9470 or send an email to

Are these COVID-19 vaccines effective?

Yes. Early results from clinical trials show greater than 90% effectiveness at protecting people from symptomatic COVID-19 illness.

Does the vaccine prevent you from contracting COVID-19?

The clinical trials for both the Pfizer vaccine and for the Moderna vaccine found that two doses of the vaccines were >90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 illness, including severe illness. It is likely, but not certain, that the COVID-19 vaccine will also reduce asymptomatic infection and transmission and there are ongoing studies to further clarify this issue. However, until experts have more information it is important to continue to follow all safety precautions, including wearing a mask when around others, practicing social distancing, wearing all appropriate PPE in the hospital, and performing frequent hand hygiene.

Where can we get the vaccine? What are the days and hours of operation?

Locations and hours for vaccination can be found on the site.

I want to get the vaccine. When can I get vaccinated?

NewYork-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Columbia Doctors are distributing COVID-19 vaccines in phases as it becomes available. COVID-19 vaccinations are being prioritized according to guidelines defined by state and federal agencies.

When will patients be able to be vaccinated?

Individuals age 65 and over who reside in New York City are being vaccinated at the Armory on 168th Street across from the NYP-CU campus. Find more information, and make vaccination appointments, on through our Connect app. For more information on recommendations for vaccine distribution see:;

Are people under 65 with medical conditions able to be vaccinated?

The Governor announced a substantial expansion of vaccine eligibility, adding persons age 30 and over effective today, March 30, and all adults (age 16 and over) as of April 6.

I have antibodies to COVID-19. Should I still get vaccinated?

People with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, should still be vaccinated. This is because people can be reinfected with SARS-CoV-2 and because we don’t know how long people will be protected from existing antibodies.

I am currently under QUARANTINE after being EXPOSED to someone with COVID-19. Should I come in to be vaccinated?

No, please wait to be vaccinated until your quarantine period is over. Generally, home quarantine can be discontinued when 1) at least 10 days have passed since the last exposure; 2) you have not developed any symptoms of COVID-19; and 3) if you were tested, you tested negative for COVID-19.

How long after receiving ANOTHER VACCINE should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

CDC recommends that people who have received another vaccine wait 14 days between the COVID vaccine and other vaccines. This is because simultaneous administration of other vaccines and the COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been studied.

How does the vaccine formulation differ between the first and second dose? I have heard that the second dose is much “stronger” than the first and more side effects can be experienced.

There is no difference in vaccine formulation between the first and second dose. You are receiving the same vaccine twice. Many vaccines require more than one dose. The second dose strengthens the immune response that began with the first dose and the second dose helps make the immune response more long-lasting. It is important to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, since these vaccines were studied as a two-dose regimen and the known safety and effectiveness is based on participants receiving both doses.

My appointment date for my second dose no longer works for me. Can I reschedule it? How do I reschedule?

It is strongly recommended that you keep your appointment date for your second dose. If you need to reschedule your second dose, your appointment should be rescheduled during the same week as your original appointment. If you do need to reschedule, you may do so through NYP CONNECT. If you are not currently registered, you may do so here: You should be able to reschedule after the second dose appointment is missed.

I have an appointment scheduled for my second dose but need to come later in the day. Can I reschedule the time?

Please come at any time on the day you are scheduled, but please check the hours of operation.

I experienced soreness and induration after receiving the first vaccine. I read that induration more commonly occurs after the second dose. Should I take Benadryl before I receive the second dose? Will switching the arm I get vaccinated in make a differen

There are currently no precautions recommended to avoid induration at the vaccine site. Remedication BEFORE the onset of reactions is not recommended. Antihistamines like Benadryl can help relieve itching and hives, but may not help with induration. Tylenol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and/or cold compresses may help with soreness and induration. It is unlikely that vaccinating in the other arm would help avoid induration.

Has the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be approved for use?

Yes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine has been shown to have 85% efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 illness.

Are more New Yorkers eligible to receive the vaccine?

The Governor announced a substantial expansion of vaccine eligibility, adding persons age 30 and over effective today, March 30, and all adults (age 16 and over) as of April 6. Remember that the supply of the vaccine is still less than the demand, so be patient when you are trying to schedule your appointments.

How else may I make an appointment?

Appointments may be scheduled at NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Finder.