This page will continually be updated as information on the COVID-19 vaccines is released.


Right now, two vaccines have been authorized by the FDA and approved unanimously by the Clinical Advisory Task Force, a board of leading scientists, doctors, and health experts to advise New York State officials to determine the safety and use of the vaccine.

Pfizer vs. Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: What’s the difference?

Both vaccines are administered in two doses with similar effective rates, with one being at 94% and the other being at 95%.

How quickly do I need a second COVID-19 vaccine shot?

According to SUNY Upstate University Hospital’s Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. Stephen Thomas, normally vaccines prevent infection, sickness, and prevent transmission. But COVID-19 vaccine trials have only proven to prevent sickness so far. It is still important for people to wear masks, socially distance, and maintain proper hygiene.


The Federal Government gives states an allotment of vaccines. It’s then up to the states to determine how they distribute the vaccine.

New York State is giving vaccines in phases. These phases are determined by COVID-19 risk. The following people are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kinney Drugs to provide COVID-19 vaccine to those 75 and older

9 New York State Wegmans pharmacies to offer COVID-19 vaccine to those 75 years old and older

On Tuesday, January 12, the CDC advised states to begin vaccinating those 65 years and older, as well as immunocompromised people. New York State will allow those 65 years and older to begin getting vaccinated immediately. Governor Cuomo said there needs to be clarification on what is included in the immunocompromised list.

The amount of vaccines available is dwarfed by the number of people eligible to receive the vaccine. Officials are pleading with the public to have patience.

“At the end of the day, you only have 300,000 doses for a population of seven million,” said Governor Cuomo. “We need patience at an impatient time in history.”

The governor estimates that it could take 6 months to get those in Phase 1 vaccinated.

PHASE 1B, as of January 11, 2021

  • Individuals Age 75 and older
  • First Responder and Support Staff for First Responder Agency
    • Fire Service
      • State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
      • Local Fire Services, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
    • Police and Investigations
      • State Police, including Troopers
      • State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers
      • SUNY Police
      • Sheriffs’ Offices
      • County Police Departments and Police Districts
      • City, Town, and Village Police Departments
      • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments
      • State Field Investigations, including Department of Motor Vehicles, State Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Services, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services and State Liquor Authority
    • Public Safety Communications
      • Emergency Communication and Public Safety Answering Point Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
    • Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel
      • Court Officers
      • Other Police or Peace Officers
      • Support of Civilian Staff for Any of the above services, agencies, or facilities
  • Corrections
    • State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Personnel, including correction and parole officers
    • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers
    • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers
    • State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • P-12 Schools
    • P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff and support staff including bus drivers)
    • Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
    • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare
    • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Providers
  • Employees or Support Staff of Licensed or Registered Childcare Setting
  • Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Childcare Providers
  • Public Transit
    • Airline and airport employees
    • Passenger railroad employees
    • Subway and mass transit employees (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
    • Ferry employees
    • Port Authority employee
    • Public bus employee
  • Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing, or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of your household
  • Individual working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing, or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents
  • Public-facing grocery store workers
  • In-person college instructors

PHASE 1A, expanded to include as of January 4, 2021

  • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care
  • All staff who are in direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff 
    • Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff
    • Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff
    • Registered Nurses
    • Specialty medical practices of all types
    • Dentists and Orthodontists and their staff
    • Psychiatrists and Psychologists and their staff
    • Physical Therapists and their staff
    • Optometrists and their staff
    • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Aides
    • Home care workers
    • Hospice workers
  • Staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive COVID vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program

PHASE 1A, began vaccinating December 15, 2020

  • High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff, and Pulmonary Department staff)
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities
  • Federally Qualified Health Center employees
  • EMS workers
  • Coroners, medical examiners, and certain funeral workers
  • Staff and residents at OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS facilities
  • Urgent Care providers
  • Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff

Prior to receiving the vaccination, you must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form can be completed online and you will receive a submission ID, or you can fill out the form at your vaccination site.

Unsure if you qualify to get the vaccine? Click here to visit New York’s “Am I Eligible” app.

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Here’s a list of the next phases expected. The timing and groups of people in each phase are subject to change.


  • Other essential frontline workers that regularly interact with the public (pharmacists, grocery store workers, etc.)
  • Essential workers to critical infrastructure
  • Other long-term care facility patients and those living in other congregate settings
  • Individuals in the general population deemed particularly high risk due to comorbidities and health conditions


  • Individuals over 65 years old
  • Individuals under 65 with high-risk comorbidities and health conditions


  • All other essential workers


  • Healthy adults and children

Vaccines in children: There is not enough data to determine if the approved vaccines are safe and effective in children. COVID-19 trials are underway analyzing the effectiveness of the vaccine in those under the age of 17.

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Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine

Researchers continue to study the vaccines for their effectiveness and any side effects from the injection.

Currently in clinical trials report that it is common for people:

  • Feeling fatigue
  • Mild to moderate pain or muscle soreness at the injection site
  • Fever

This is the body’s immune response to the vaccine and a sign that the vaccine is starting to work. A second dose of the vaccine is very important to ensure full protection. Mild pain relievers should help you feel better if you experience any of these side effects. Call your health care provider if you don’t feel better within two or three days.

No serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported.

Again, the vaccine has been proven to stop symptoms of COVID-19. It is not yet known if the vaccine can prevent the spread of illness. Wearing masks, hand washing, and social distancing help lower your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. A vaccine will help your body fight the virus if you are exposed.

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Who Shouldn’t Get Vaccinated?

According to the CDC the following people should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine,  you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.*
  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get another dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.*
  • An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).
  • This includes allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here for more information on the coronavirus vaccines and allergic reactions from the CDC.

Vaccination Clinics

Providers will not give the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are not in the current eligible group. You may be asked to provide proof of identity and other personal information in order to receive a vaccine. Please check with the “Am I Eligible” app by clicking here to see if you are eligible. If you are eligible the app will link you to a vaccine clinic near you and help you to schedule an appointment.


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