COVID-19 Vaccinations – FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting the vaccine
Each state has its own plan for deciding which groups of people will be vaccinated first. Richmond University Medical Center is providing COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with all New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) guidelines. Only individuals classified by NYS DOH as Group 1a and 1b are currently eligible to receive vaccinations. Read more on vaccine eligibility here.
If you qualify according to New York State Department of Health guidelines, please call (718)-818-3193 to schedule an appointment.
There are varying timelines on when the general public will be vaccinated due to high demand and scheduling hardships. It is estimated that the general population will not be able to receive the vaccine until late spring or early summer.
Yes. Re-infection with COVID-19 is possible; therefore, the vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Experts recommend that you wait until you are fully recovered from your infection and are no longer in isolation before you receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
You should not have to pay to get the vaccine. Doses are purchased by the government with U.S. Taxpayer dollars.
There is no COVID-19 vaccine yet for children under age 16.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses to offer the full benefit. The first dose helps the immune system create a response against the virus that causes COVID-19. The second dose further boosts the immune response to ensure long-term protection.
The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is offered 21 days later, while Moderna is offered 28 days later.
You will start to get some protection after the first dose, but it is not until about two weeks after the second dose that your immunity will peak.
Viruses are always mutating and taking on new forms. The question gets to the heart of active scientific investigation. While we don’t know how much the virus will mutate, it is still of the utmost importance to get vaccinated to protect yourself and the ones around you from COVID-19.
In some instances, individuals who receive a vaccination experience an inflammatory response in the arm and/or swollen lymph nodes. These are a normal response to the vaccine, but can show up on a routine mammogram. For individuals without concerning breast symptoms and when it does not unduly delay care, consider scheduling a mammogram prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or 4-6 weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccine safety and side effects
All the COVID-19 vaccines being used have gone through rigorous studies to ensure they are as safe as possible.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines that have been shown to meet demanding safety criteria and be effective.
No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed in the U.S. do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
A COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, including:
- Pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
You’ll be monitored for 15 minutes after getting a COVID-19 vaccine to see if you have an immediate reaction. Most side effects happen within the first three days after vaccination and typically last only one to two days.
Side effects are more likely with a second dose than a first, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The side effects from the second dose can be worse than the first because the body is already primed to attack the protein, so you experience a stronger immune response, experts said.
COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.
What to expect
The needle prick will feel like any other vaccination. Many have reported the injection site to be sore afterwards, similar to the effects of a flu shot.
You will be asked to wait at least 15 minutes after receiving the shot so you can be monitored for an allergic reaction, although it is a rare occurrence. A person with a history of severe allergies may be asked to stay for 30 minutes.
People who get the COVID-19 vaccine will be given a vaccination card after their first and second dose. You can use this card thereafter to recall important health information, including the type of COVID-19 vaccine received and the dates of first and second doses. The card could be important as proof of a vaccination, so put it away for safekeeping.
Since the card will show personal information, it is recommended that you do not share a photo of it on social media. Sharing the photo also makes it easier for scammers to create imitation cards.
There is not enough data to determine the cadence of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is possible that these vaccinations will become an annual event like the flu shot. Research is currently underway to conclude how often the vaccine needs to be administered.
Precautions including mask-wearing and social-distancing are important even after you’ve been fully vaccinated, as the vaccines aren’t 100% effective. Additionally, it is possible that even those who have been vaccinated can carry the virus without showing symptoms and pass it to others.
There is no research on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant and breastfeeding individuals
The current vaccines do NOT contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or to the fetus. Many vaccines are routinely given in pregnancy and are safe (for example: tetanus, diphtheria, and flu).
mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.