Suffolk County COVID-19 Vaccination Center
Text Only Version
#TAKEYOURSHOT - GET VACCINATED
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 5 years of age and older receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The Pfizer vaccine is now authorized for everyone ages 5 and over. By getting vaccinated, you can end the damage to our economy, prevent more illnesses and deaths, and eliminate COVID-19.
Suffolk County is currently running dedicated Pfizer vaccine clinics in Hauppauge for children and teens ages 5-17, as well as adult clinics offering Pfizer vaccine to ages 12 and over, and Moderna vaccine to ages 18 and over. See upcoming Suffolk County Vaccination Clinic times below including vaccine type, as well as eligibility and consent requirements.
are encouraged; walk-ins are welcome and will be accepted up to one-half hour before the clinic is scheduled to close. If you do not have an appointment, please expect a longer wait time.
Medical practitioners and emergency medical services will be on-site at all times at each clinic to answer any questions and tend to any needs or concerns. Contact
if you have questions about the clinics. To find a vaccination site nearest to you, text your zip code to 438829 or visit
Upcoming Vaccination Clinics
CHILDREN'S COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINIC (PFIZER ONLY, 5 & UP), Hauppauge - 01/25/22 | 4PM-7PM
1/25/2022 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINIC (MODERNA, ages 18+ and PFIZER, ages 12+) Hauppauge - 01/27/22 | 9AM-1PM
1/27/2022 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
CHILDREN'S COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINIC (PFIZER ONLY, 5 & UP), Hauppauge - 01/29/22 | 9AM-12PM
1/29/2022 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Third Doses & Booster Doses
According to the CDC, people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised sometimes do not build enough, or any, protection when they first receive a vaccination. When this happens, getting another dose of the vaccine can sometimes help them build more protection against the disease. This appears to be the case for some immunocompromised people and COVID-19 vaccines. In contrast, a “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). Third doses and booster shots are available at all Suffolk County Vaccination Clinics. Please find more information on Third and Booster doses, below.
moderately to severely immunocompromised
people consider receiving an additional (third) dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (
) at least 28 days after the completion of the initial 2-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series. Different medical conditions can result in widely varying degrees of immunosuppression. Your medical provider is best able to assess your status. For information on additional doses for some immunocompromised please see the statement available
CDC and NYSDOH encourage
all eligible New Yorkers
to get COVID vaccine boosters, to provide additional protection against the widely-circulating Omicron variant. The following groups of people are eligible for boosters at this time:
12 or over
who received their last dose of the
initial vaccine series
at least 5 months ago
18 or over
who received their last dose of the
initial vaccine series
at least 5 months ago
18 or over
who received initial dose of the
Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson
at least 2 months ago
aged 16 or over
who completed all of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by WHO but not approved or authorized by FDA are also eligible to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech booster at least 5 months after completion of their initial vaccine series. CDC’s guidance for booster doses can be found
If you are 18 or older, you may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster.
now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
for more information.
Vaccination for People Confined to Their Homes
If you are confined to your home for any reason, are 18 or older and wish to get vaccinated, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine is available, safe and free. Please call
to schedule an appointment for a Suffolk County Public Health nurses to come to you. For information regarding the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine please visit
. To find a vaccination site nearest to you, text your zip code to 438829 or
Vaccine Information & Frequently Asked Questions
Minority Health and COVID-19: A Discussion with Dr. Pigott
Dr. Pigott's WBAB/BLI Plugged into Long Island podcast on Vaccines
Questions about Omicron and other variants
Updated December 3, 2021. Source: CDC
What is the Omicron variant?
Omicron is a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. The Omicron variant has been detected in a growing number of countries, including the U.S.
Are the vaccines effective against this variant?
Studies are underway to answer that question. While it is possible that current vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variant, vaccine availability is limited in many African countries, and South African officials are reporting that most of the people there who are sick due to the omicron variant were not vaccinated. Vaccines remain widely available in the U.S. and the Omicron variant is yet another reason to get vaccinated and get a booster if you are eligible.
Is Omicron as serious a health risk as other variants? Is it more or less contagious?
Health officials are collecting data to be able to answer these questions. In the meantime, it is important to remember that any coronavirus infection can be life threatening especially in people with underlying medical conditions. The best way to prevent the spread of this new variant or any other variant is to get vaccinated, get a booster if you are eligible, and to wear a mask in indoor public settings or in a crowded environment. In most places, masking is also required for air, train and bus travel and other forms of public transportation.
Questions about COVID booster shots
Updated December 3, 2021. Source: CDC
If we need a booster dose, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?
COVID-19 vaccines are working well
to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease. With cases of COVID-19 still high across the United States and increasing in some parts of the country, the latest CDC recommendations on booster doses help to ensure more people across the U.S. are better protected against COVID-19.
Can I mix and match my COVID-19 vaccine and booster?
Yes. The CDC’s clinical guidance advises people to get the same booster as their initial vaccine, but allows people to mix and match depending on availability or if they have a different preference. Mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines refers to getting a different COVID-19 booster than the initial vaccine (e.g. getting a Pfizer booster after the Moderna vaccine, or a Moderna booster after the J&J vaccine). People who are eligible can get a booster shot with any available COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they received the J&J, Moderna, or Pfizer vaccine for their initial dose(s).
If you have questions about your eligibility for booster doses or which booster you should get, speak to your health care provider.
So does this mean people will need a COVID-19 booster every six months?
At this point we don’t know if additional booster doses, beyond the now recommended or available third dose, will be needed. Booster doses are common for many vaccines. The scientists and medical experts who developed the COVID-19 vaccines will continue to closely watch for signs of waning immunity, how well the vaccines protect against new mutations of the virus, and how that data differ across age groups and risk factors. It is possible that the current booster dose could result in long lasting immunity or alternatively that additional booster doses might be needed in the future, and scientists will be carefully monitoring that issue.
Why is an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine recommended for immunocompromised people?
People with compromised immune systems may have a reduced ability to respond to vaccines, and having a weakened immune system can increase the risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. The CDC recommends that immunocompromised people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine get an additional dose at least 28 days after their second shot. All Johnson & Johnson recipients, including immunocompromised people, should get a booster shot at least two months after their initial shot.. Data show that an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines helps to increase protection for this group.
Patients who are immunocompromised should consult with their health care provider to discuss additional precautions and any questions they have about protecting themselves from COVID-19.
COVID-19 Vaccines are Recommended for Ages 5 and Older
Vaccination is an important step toward achieving community immunity.
What is an emergency use authorization?
Emergency use authorizations (EUA) are used during public health emergencies to make available a needed drug or vaccine before the FDA has all the information normally required for approval of a new product. Developers must prove that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks.
The COVID-19 vaccines that have received EUAs have gone through extensive clinical testing with tens of thousands of study volunteers. The FDA requires developers to submit detailed findings about safety, and follow clinical trial participants for at least two months after the trial ends to monitor for potential side effects.
Should I consider vaccinating my child?
Yes. Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to reduce our risk now and in the future. Getting a disease or getting a vaccine can both give you future protection from that disease. The difference is that with the disease you have to get sick to get that protection. With the vaccine, you do not. Simply put, it always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.
Children can get sick from COVID-19, especially as new, more contagious strains of the virus begin to spread. New strains have also been associated with higher rates of illness among children. Available vaccines have shown to be effective against COVID-19 and variants.
Children who get the vaccine protect themselves from getting sick and help reduce the virus’ spread to others, including parents and grandparents, who are more at risk of severe COVID-19. If left unvaccinated, children could become a reservoir for infection, allowing virus variants that may evade vaccines to circulate and grow.
Additionally, the rise in vaccinations can be directly linked to the general decline in the positivity rate.
What did the clinical trials find about the vaccine’s efficacy among teens?
Based on clinical trials, the vaccine appears to be as effective among teens and children as it is among adults. The FDA reported results from a study with 1,983 children ages 12 to 15. None of those who received the vaccine contracted COVID-19, compared to 16 positive cases of COVID-19 among children who received the placebo. The trial also found that vaccinated adolescents had high levels of antibodies in their blood — a signal they had developed strong protective immunity. The US FDA approved the vaccine for emergency use, finding the vaccine was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Do children experience the same side effects?
Reports indicate that children experience similar side effects as adults. The most common are pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Side effects generally subside in 24 hours.
What if my child already had COVID-19. Should they get the vaccine?
Yes. It is not known how long the immunity lasts from naturally contracting the virus. The vaccine is made to create a longer lasting immune response and can protect against reinfection, which is rare. Additionally, the vaccines have been effective against more transmissible variant strains of the virus so far.
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
If my child is vaccinated, will they need to quarantine if exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
Asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. Fully vaccinated is defined as being 2 or more weeks after the final dose (e.g., first for Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, second for Pfizer and Moderna) of the vaccine approved by the FDA or authorized by the FDA for emergency use.
Can my child get the COVID-19 at the same time as other routine vaccines?
Yes. Previously, the recommendation was to administer COVID-19 vaccines alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccine, due to the unknown effects COVID-19 vaccines could have when co-administered with other vaccines. However, substantial data collected regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines has demonstrated that the efficacy and side effects experienced after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine are generally similar when vaccines are administered simultaneously.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine affect my child’s fertility in the future?
There is no evidence to support this belief. Pregnant people were not included in vaccine trials, however the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended vaccination for pregnant people in April, following a study that found no increased rate of preterm birth, miscarriage, or stillbirth among pregnant people who received the vaccine. Furthermore, if the vaccine could trigger an immune response against the placental protein, it would be expected that an actual COVID-19 infection could also.
Will students be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school?
New York State
has not indicated that it will require children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend school (K-12), however did announce vaccinations will be mandatory to attend on-campus classes this fall at
universities and colleges. Some private universities and colleges have also required a vaccination.
Source: SUNY, CUNY (see links above)
What can you do if your children aren't old enough to get vaccinated?
While current trials are ongoing to study vaccination efficacy in children, it is important to continue to take precautions and protective measures, including washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing in the appropriate settings and following the CDC guidance for unvaccinated persons. Vaccinating those who are eligible around the children can also keep them protected.
Questions about Eligibility and Availability of COVID-19 Vaccine
Will there be a cost associated with getting a vaccine?
The vaccine is free of charge.
What proof do I need to bring to my appointment to show that I am eligible?
Once you receive confirmation that your COVID-19 vaccination has been scheduled, take note:
Individuals being vaccinated MUST produce proof of eligibility.
If an individual is eligible due to their
, they must prove they are employed in New York State. Proof may include:
an employee ID card or badge,
a letter from an employer, or
a pay stub.
If an individual is eligible due to their
, they must produce Proof of Age AND Proof of Residency in New York State. To prove residency, an individual must show:
One (1) of the following: Landlord's Statement; Current rent receipt or lease; Mortgage records; or
Two (2) of the following: Statement from another Individual; Current mail; School records.
To prove age an individual must show:
a government-issued ID that includes their date of birth (like a Driver's License or passport).
If an individual is eligible due to
, they must produce one of the following:
Medical information that is evidence you have the condition
A signed certification when the vaccine is received that is determined by a local government
Questions about Vaccine Safety
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. CDC and the FDA will continue to monitor the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States U.S. use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes two weeks for the body to build stronger immunity after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine or after the single–dose Janssen vaccine. Therefore, it is particularly important to continue to follow all public health guidance, such as wearing a mask, watching your distance and washing your hands, especially before protection from the vaccine has been built (when you are still fully susceptible to become infected and get sick from COVID-19.)
What are the side effects after I get the COVID-19 vaccine? Will I have symptoms?
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19 by stimulating your immune system so your body is ready to respond if you come in contact with the virus. You may expect to have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your daily life, but they should go away in a few days. Common side effects are pain and swelling on the arm where you received the shot, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. Some of these
may be more pronounced
if you have been previously infected with COVID-19 and, in the case of mRNA vaccines, after the second dose.
For tips on what to expect after getting a COVID-19, visit
Source: Nancy Messonier,
Can I resume life as normal after I get my vaccine?
CDC states that people who have been fully vaccinated (defined as those who have received the second dose of a two-dose regimen or one single-dose vaccine no less than two weeks ago) can:
Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing, as long as they are at low risk for severe illness from COVID-19
Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine after a known exposure to COVID-19, as long as they remain asymptomatic.
Except for the above-mentioned activities, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and physically distance around unvaccinated people.
We do not yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not get sick.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.
To protect yourself and others, even if you are fully vaccinated, follow these recommendations in public spaces:
Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
Stay at least 6 feet away from others
Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
Wash your hands often
Together, COVID-19 vaccination and CDC's recommendations for
how to protect yourself and others
are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to update this page as we learn more.
CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals
What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)? Did speed compromise safety?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is globally respected for its scientific standards of vaccine safety, efficacy and quality. In an emergency, like a pandemic, the FDA can make a judgement that it is worth releasing a vaccine, drug, device and/or test for use even without all the evidence that would go into the normal approval process. That judgement, in this case that the known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine, is called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Under both EUA and normal approval, the FDA provides scientific and regulatory requirements to vaccine developers and undertakes a rigorous evaluation of the scientific information through all phases of clinical trials, which continues after authorization or approval. Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be issued an EUA.
Watch a video on what an EUA is here.
Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.
I have a shellfish or other food allergy. Should I get the vaccine?
CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions that are not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.
Tell the provider about your allergy when you get the vaccine. They are prepared to administer the vaccine safely and provide treatment in the rare case of allergic reactions. As a precaution, the
CDC guidelines recommend that those with allergies be observed at the site for 30 minutes instead of 15 minutes
. But it is not something to prevent you from getting vaccine.
Should I postpone my routine mammogram until after I get vaccinated?
Like other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines can cause swollen lymph nodes in the armpit area where the shot was administered. This is a normal side effect of the vaccine and is evidence that your immune system is building protection against COVID-19.
However, swollen lymph nodes under the arm are routinely screened for during mammograms as a potential sign of breast cancer. If you have recently been vaccinated and develop swollen lymph nodes, it could be mistaken for breast cancer during your mammogram. Therefore, as long as it does not delay essential medical care, you should consider scheduling your mammogram for either before you receive the vaccine, or 4-6 weeks post-vaccination.
If swelling under the arm persists for more than 4-6 weeks after vaccination, consult your physician.
Society of Breast Imaging
What should I do if I am exposed to COVID-19 after being vaccinated?
Vaccinated individuals with a COVID-19 exposure are not required to quarantine if they meet
of the following criteria:
Are fully vaccinated, meaning it has been at least 2 weeks since they have received both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine
Have been fully vaccinated for less than 3 months
Have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms since exposure
If you do not meet all of these criteria, then you should follow
regular quarantine protocol
after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
CDC Interim Clinical Consideration
Questions about Vaccine Efficacy
How well does the COVID-19 vaccine protect me?
Based on the current research, the Janssen vaccine (one dose) and the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines (both two-dose regimens) are incredibly good at preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19. (Janssen with 72% vaccine efficacy [83.5% against severe disease], Pfizer/BioNTech with 95% efficacy and Moderna with 94.1% efficacy).
CDC Interim Clinical Considerations
Which of the three available COVID-19 vaccines is considered the best?
The Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are all proven to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths. Getting vaccinated with any of these vaccines will greatly reduce your risk of serious illness due to the virus and it is recommended that you take the first vaccine available to you.
The single-dose Janssen vaccine has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing severe illness from COVID-19 and 100% effective against COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. The vaccine also lowered the risk of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 illness by 72% among people who were vaccinated compared to people who received the placebo. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine showed efficacy of 95% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection after two doses.
And the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection after the second dose.
Can I choose which vaccine I get?
Three vaccines are currently available in the U.S. under the Emergency Use Authorization – Janssen, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. All of them dramatically lower the risk of getting sick from COVID-19. You are likely to receive whichever vaccine is supplied to your provider/local health department by the federal government. It is important to get vaccinated when it is your turn to make sure you and your community can benefit from all of the tools we have to fight COVID-19.
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
How long does it take for the COVID-19 vaccines to provide immunity?
After you are vaccinated, it takes some time for your body to build an immune response to the vaccine.
that the vaccines offer strong protection starting two weeks after completing the vaccination series (one dose for Janssen, two doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines).
Once you get vaccinated, you will have a lower risk of getting sick from COVID-19. However, no vaccine provides 100% immunity and many people around you are likely to be unvaccinated. To protect others, it is crucial to continue practicing the 3 W's:
ear a mask,
ash your hands, and
atch your distance until enough people are vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus.
If I've been vaccinated, do I still need to practice the 3W's (wear a mask, watch my distance, and wash my hands)?
Fully vaccinated individuals should continue to practice the 3 W's around people who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. We do not yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don't get sick.
According to CDC, fully vaccinated individuals can, however, socialize without face masks and physical distancing with other fully vaccinated individuals, and with unvaccinated people in a single household who are at low risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using
all the tools
available to help stop this pandemic.
To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:
Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
Stay at least 6 feet away from others
Avoid poorly-ventilated spaces
Wash your hands often
Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC's recommendations for
how to protect yourself and others
will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals
If I already had COVID, do I still need to get the vaccine?
Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don't know how long this protection will last, and it is possible to catch it more than once.
Vaccination of a person with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until they have recovered from the acute illness (if they had symptoms) and they have met criteria to discontinue isolation. This recommendation applies to people who become infected before receiving any vaccine dose and those who become infected after the first dose of an mRNA vaccine but before receipt of the second dose.
While there is no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is low in the months after initial infection but may increase with time due to waning immunity. Thus, while vaccine supply remains limited, people with recent documented acute SARS-CoV-2 infection may choose to temporarily delay vaccination, if desired, recognizing that the risk of reinfection and, therefore, the need for vaccination, might increase with time following initial infection.
For the two-dose vaccines, how long do I have to wait between the two vaccine doses?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine includes two shots, 21 days apart while the Moderna vaccine includes two shots, 28 days apart.
Persons should not be scheduled to receive the second dose earlier than recommended (e.g., 3 weeks [Pfizer-BioNTech] or 1 month [Moderna]). However, second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are still considered valid. Doses inadvertently administered earlier than the grace period should not be repeated.
If it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There are currently limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.
Source: CDC Interim Clinical Considerations
How effective ares the mRNA vaccines after just one dose?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine includes two shots, 21 days apart while the Moderna vaccine includes two shots, 28 days apart. Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine efficacy after a single dose was 52.4% in trials; Moderna's was 80.2%.
However, both doses are currently recommended to get the maximum protection, since there have been no clinical trials assessing these mRNA vaccines as single dose regimes. Until more is learned about the duration and kind of protection you get from the vaccine, you should take the same precautions you did before vaccination. Moreover, until the population is broadly vaccinated and the outbreak is under control, which will take many months, everyone — vaccinated or not— needs to continue to wear masks and practice distancing to protect themselves and others.
National Public Radio (NPR)
How many people must be vaccinated for us to have “herd immunity"?
Experts do not know exactly what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. The current estimation is between 70-85%. Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people in a community have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination — that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. As a result, everyone within the community is protected, even if some people don't have any protection themselves. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.
CDC COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
How did the clinical trials assess efficacy and safety?
Clinical trials are studies to assess the safety and efficacy of vaccines. They are typically conducted in three phases, each with increasingly larger numbers of volunteers.
Phase 1 clinical trials assess the safety and dosage of a vaccine in a small number of people, typically a dozen to several dozen healthy volunteers.
Vaccine safety is also assessed in Phase 2 studies, in which adverse events not detected in phase 1 trials may be identified because a larger and more diverse group of people receive the vaccine.
Only in much larger Phase 3 clinical trials can it be demonstrated whether a vaccine is actually protective against disease. Safety is also more fully assessed. Phase 3 clinical trials often include thousands of volunteers, and for Covid-19 vaccines will involve tens of thousands (30,000 to 45,000 people in some of the ongoing phase 3 trials).
Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
Is there a place I can track the various kinds of COVID-19 Vaccines?
The New York Times
has developed a vaccine tracker
with detailed information and visuals on the development process of each of the leading vaccine candidates. The tracker is updated nearly every day as new evidence is collected and progress is made.
What is the difference between "natural immunity" and "vaccinated immunity"?
Natural immunity refers to the process of building an immune response to a disease after being infected by it. After getting COVID-19, most people will build an immune response that will last at least months and help fight the disease if they are exposed to it again, so they do not become sick.
Vaccine-induced immunity refers to a process where weakened or killed parts of an organism are introduced to the body to produce the same type of immune response without the person having to become sick with the disease in order to have immunity. After completing a COVID-19 vaccination, people are expected to build an immune response that will last months and help their immune system fight COVID-19 if they are exposed to it, so they do not become sick.
Experts are still studying how long natural and vaccine-induced immunity will last for COVID-19. There may also be differences in the level of immune response from natural immunity versus vaccine-induced immunity and scientists are continuing to study this area.
Both of these processes are types of active immunity, where the body responds to something from the outside world to build the immune response. Active immunity is different from passive immunity, where someone is given antibodies rather than their body producing through the immunity.
How worried should I be about the new variants or mutations? Will the COVID-19 vaccine be effective?
Viruses frequently change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the U.S. and globally during this pandemic. This includes the B 1.351, B.1.1.7 and P.1 variants first detected in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Brazil, respectively. Data suggest that these variants spread more easily and quickly than other variants.
As a result, it is very important for everyone to continue to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, avoid crowds, ventilate indoor spaces, and wash their hands often. These actions will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the new variants.
Studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway
Scientists are working to better understand how easily the variants might be transmitted and the effectiveness of currently authorized vaccines against them. New information about the virologic, epidemiologic, and clinical characteristics of these variants is rapidly emerging.
CDC, in collaboration with other public health agencies, is monitoring the situation closely. CDC is working to detect and characterize emerging viral variants and expand its ability to look for new COVID-19 variants. Furthermore, CDC has staff available on-the-ground support to investigate the characteristics of viral variants. For example, CDC is collaborating with EPA to confirm that disinfectants inactivate these variant viruses. As new information becomes available, CDC will provide updates.
Questions about Equitable Allocation and Distribution
Who decides which groups get 'priority' in receiving the vaccine?
Because the U.S. supply of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be limited at first, the CDC provided recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC's recommendations are based on those from the
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
(ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts. New York State is following CDC recommendations.
How can people living in communities where there has been a high prevalence of COVID-19 arrange to get the vaccine?
Because COVID-19 disproportionately affected people of color, priority will be given to vaccinating people living in communities where the virus is prevalent.
Those with underlying medical conditions and residents within communities adversely affected by health disparities will be offered the vaccine before it's made available to the general public.
Importantly, the public will need to trust a vaccine and be willing to be vaccinated to have a public health impact. Building trust in a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, particularly in communities with long-standing, legitimate mistrust of the government and scientific experiments, is critical.
As the largest health care provider in New York State, Northwell Health has been asked by Governor Andrew Cuomo to establish a Health Equity Taskforce, which will convene on January 5, 2021. Its mission is to work with the medical community to ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccine to communities where there is a history of health disparities and a high prevalence of chronic diseases that make people more vulnerable to COVID-19. Northwell has reached out to leaders within those communities in Nassau and Suffolk counties to serve on the Task Force, and work with us on how best to inform and educate residents of diverse communities about COVID-19 vaccinations.
For more information on how Suffolk County is working with Northwell Health to address health disparities and outreach to underserved communities, please visit
Why is it important to have diversity among clinical trial subjects?
Everyone is susceptible to infection by the coronavirus. For that reason, a coronavirus vaccine needs to be safe and effective for all people regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, or gender. Therefore, it is important to have diversity among participants in clinical trials that measure a potential vaccine's safety and effectiveness. Safety and effectiveness for all groups of people is particularly important for a COVID-19 vaccine because of the virus's disproportionate impact on people of color, people with underlying medical conditions, and the elderly. A vaccine that is not sufficiently tested in a diverse clinical trial pool could lead to unexpected effects that didn't appear in a trial with a more general population.
In May the FDA "strongly encouraged" the inclusion of diverse populations in COVID-19 clinical vaccine trials, including racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions.
Did Black scientists play any role in vaccine development?
Yes, an important one. As Dr Anthony Fauci noted, "The very vaccine that's one of the two that has absolutely exquisite levels — 95 percent efficacy against clinical disease and almost 100 percent efficacy against serious disease that are shown to be clearly safe — that vaccine was actually developed in the NIH's vaccine research center by a team of scientists led by Dr. Barney Graham and his close colleague, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, or Kizzy Corbett.” Corbett, a Black woman, is the lead scientist for the National Institutes of Health's coronavirus vaccine research and has addressed hesitancy within the Black community in the past. "Trust, especially when it has been stripped from people, has to be rebuilt in a brick-by-brick fashion," Corbett said. "And so, what I say to people firstly is that I empathize, and then secondly is that I'm going to do my part in laying those bricks. And I think that if everyone on our side, as physicians and scientists, went about it that way, then the trust would start to be rebuilt."
CNN Coronavirus: Fact or Fiction
What COVID-19 vaccine resources exist for the Black/African-American population?
The Black Coalition Against COVID-19 is a trusted source of information on COVID-19 vaccine information, including through its partnership with the four historically Black medical schools in the United States. Resources include: 1) Make it Plain: What Black America Needs to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines 2) Resources for Enrolling in Vaccine Trials, and 3) Personal account of a Black doctor who got the vaccine.
Black Coalition Against Covid-19
Where can I find information in Spanish on vaccines for the Latinx population?
The CDC has Spanish language
myth-busting resources on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation
COVID-19 FAQs in Spanish
has updated COVID-19 information in Spanish, compiled by the American Public Health Association and the COVID-19 Latinx Task Force. PAHO has communications materials in Spanish and Portuguese for its Latin American audience.
The Department of Health for the Government of Puerto Rico maintains a Spanish-language COVID-19 vaccine website with information on the benefits of the vaccine, fact sheets, and nearly 30 FAQs, including those related to doses, concerns for pregnant women and the immunocompromised, differences between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the need for the 3Ws even after being vaccinated, and the v-safe program.
Source: The Department of Health for the Government of Puerto Rico
What COVID-19 vaccine resources exist for Tribal, Indigenous, and Native populations?
The Indian Health Service (IHS)
COVID-19 vaccine website
has resources including its
COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccine plan
and FAQs specific to the concerns of the community. Also, consult the
IHS List of Provider Resources for Vaccination Clinics
What COVID-19 vaccine resources exist for the Asian American (AA), Native Hawaiian (NH), and Pacific Islander (PI) communities?
The following sites provide key resources, updated regularly:
AAPCHO COVID-19 Resources Page:
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources:
Pacific Islander Covid-19 Response Team:
Is there a 'one-stop shop' for data and information on COVID-19 disparities, equity, and social/racial justice?
The American Public Health Association provides a roundup of webinars, articles, and blogs on COVID-19 and health equity and health justice. This includes CDC data on COVID-19 racial and ethnic disparities, and information on the impact on the unhoused population.
The Atlantic's COVID Racial Data Tracker is a collaboration between the COVID Tracking Project and the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. It gathers the most complete and up-to-date race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 in the United States.
COVID Tracking Project
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services appreciates the support of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies