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COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Patients

NYU Langone offers patients 6 months and older the COVID-19 vaccine, including updates boosters. Here are answers to some of your questions about the safety of the vaccine, how it works, and who should get vaccinated and why.

How can I schedule my primary COVID-19 vaccination appointments?

NYU Langone patients can schedule their primary series of COVID-19 vaccination appointments through their NYU Langone Health MyChart account. Vaccinations take place at specialized immunization sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens and on Long Island.

If you are a parent scheduling a vaccination appointment for your child, you must have shared access to your child’s health record in MyChart in order to schedule. See our instructions for requesting shared access, also called proxy access, in order to access your child’s health record.

NYU Langone patients can make an appointment to receive the Pfizer–BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. These vaccines require two doses as part of your primary vaccination series. You can schedule the second dose through MyChart between three and four weeks after your first dose, depending on the vaccine you received.

Who is eligible for an updated COVID-19 booster?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone receive an updated COVID-19 booster when eligible. The updated bivalent boosters from Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna protect against both the original strains of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. People age 5 years and older are eligible for an updated booster from Moderna or Pfizer–BioNTech 2 months after completing their primary vaccination series.

For younger children, eligibility depends on which vaccine they received. Children ages 6 months to 4 years who received the two-dose Moderna vaccine may receive an updated booster if it has been 2 months after completion of their primary series. The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine is given as a three-dose series for children ages 6 months to 4 years. For these children, the third dose is the updated bivalent vaccine. The CDC provides information about staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

Eligible patients can make a booster appointment through their NYU Langone Health MyChart account.

If you received your primary vaccination series elsewhere, please upload proof of vaccination to your NYU Langone Health MyChart account so that we may offer you a booster appointment when you are eligible. You will not be able to schedule your booster dose at NYU Langone until proof of your primary vaccination series is in your MyChart account.

How can I let NYU Langone know that I received the vaccine somewhere else?

If you’ve received the vaccine outside NYU Langone, please let us know by uploading proof of vaccination into your NYU Langone Health MyChart account. This lets your care team know you’ve been vaccinated, and becomes the official digital record of your vaccination. It also lets us know when you are eligible for a booster vaccination appointment at NYU Langone.

After you receive all required doses of the vaccine, please follow these steps:

  • Log into the NYU Langone Health app or NYU Langone Health MyChart.
  • Select the orange “Upload COVID Vaccine Proof” icon.
  • You will be prompted to upload a photo of your vaccination card that shows proof that you received all required doses of the vaccine.
  • After you have uploaded the photo, press Continue, then Submit.

Please note that processing time for uploaded proof of vaccination may vary. If you received the vaccination at an NYU Langone location, it is part of your medical record and you do not need to upload proof, so you will not see the upload icon in your MyChart account.

People who are eligible for a booster vaccination and received their booster outside NYU Langone can also upload proof to their MyChart account.

Why do healthy people need to be vaccinated?

Even healthy people are at risk of severe COVID-19 infection and can develop serious complications. Although healthy people are less likely to be hospitalized than those with certain underlying medical conditions, they can become severely ill and are as likely to experience long-term health effects after the initial infection. This is known in the medical community as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), or as “long-haul COVID.”

When healthy people are vaccinated, they help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the virus’s opportunity to spread from person to person. Vaccination is also a way that healthy people can protect people who are at high risk for complications from contracting COVID-19. By getting vaccinated, you are protecting yourself, your family, and your community by helping control the spread of the disease.

If I had COVID-19, do I need a booster?

Yes, the CDC recommends everyone who is eligible for a booster should get one even if you have had COVID-19. There is evidence that the vaccines provide a stronger and more reliable immune system response than a natural infection does. This is based on data showing that people who have had a COVID-19 infection tend to have lower levels of antibodies than those who have been vaccinated.

Even for those who received their primary vaccination series, the immune system’s response and protection against infection and severe disease wane over time, especially for people in higher risk groups, such as those age 65 years and older.

The updated boosters from Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna also provide better protection against newer virus variants. The boosters target both the original strains of the virus and the common strains of the Omicron variant.

Should children get vaccinated against COVID-19?

The Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are approved for use in children and infants as young as 6 months. Compared to other age groups, the rates of severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 are lower in people under age 18, but COVID-19 infection at any age can result in hospitalization, inflammatory conditions, and long-term side effects. Clinical trials showed the COVID-19 vaccine to be as effective in children as in adults in reducing infections, and more importantly, preventing the risk of hospitalization.

How can I schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for my child?

If your child is a patient at NYU Langone, ensure that you have shared access, or proxy access, to your child’s health information in NYU Langone Health MyChart so that you can schedule an appointment for them. Learn more about requesting access to your child’s health information in MyChart.

Appointments are available at our vaccination locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Please do not call your pediatrician’s office about scheduling, as they cannot schedule the appointment for you.

The Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two or three doses for the primary vaccination series, depending on your child’s age, to provide the best possible protection against COVID-19. After your child receives their first dose, you will be able to schedule their subsequent doses within the recommended timeframes in MyChart.

Can pregnant or breastfeeding people get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Along with the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal–Fetal Medicine recommend that all pregnant and breastfeeding people receive the COVID-19 vaccine and booster. Tens of thousands of people have received the vaccine while pregnant. The data show there are no safety risks and that vaccination reduces the risk of severe maternal COVID-19 and preterm delivery.

The vaccine also appears to be just as effective for pregnant people as it is for the general population. This is especially important because pregnant individuals are at high risk of severe complications should they become infected with COVID-19. Vaccination before or during pregnancy can also protect your baby after birth, as the mother’s antibodies pass on to the infant while in utero.

We recommend that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding talk with their obstetricians about any concerns they have regarding vaccination.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility in women or men. There is no data to support the belief that the vaccine or the resulting immune reaction has any effect on conception, fetal development, or miscarriage risk. If the spike protein antibody created by the vaccine caused infertility, an infection with COVID-19 should also, and there is no evidence that it does.

Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about the vaccine and future family planning.

How can I be sure the vaccine is safe?

More than 80 percent of all Americans have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 54 million people receiving at least one bivalent booster dose.

NYU Langone has been involved in testing COVID-19 vaccines through clinical trials at our Vaccine Center, which is 1 of 10 Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units in the United States funded by the National Institutes of Health. (The Vaccine Center is a research center and is not involved in giving vaccines to the general public.)

The FDA reviewed data from those extensive clinical trials, which showed that the vaccine is safe and that its benefits outweigh its known or potential risks. Three vaccines—Pfizer–BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen—have received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, which is a special approval during a public health emergency that is based on strong evidence of safety.

The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine has been granted full FDA approval for use in people age 12 and older. The FDA granted full approval for the Moderna vaccine in people age 18 and older. Full approval is based on updated data from the initial clinical trials, including research into long-term side effects. The Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for use in children continue to be distributed under Emergency Use Authorization.

Vaccines work by priming the body’s immune system to fight the virus. Vaccine reactions, such as a sore arm, headache, fatigue, or nausea, are normal and are signs that the body is responding to the vaccine.

We encourage you to talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns you have about the vaccine, so you can make an informed decision.

If vaccinated people can still get COVID-19, does that mean that the vaccines are ineffective?

COVID-19 infections do occur in fully vaccinated people. However, fully vaccinated people with infections tend to experience much milder symptoms or no symptoms at all, and the vaccines continue to provide strong protection against severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and death. Hospitalization and death rates for fully vaccinated people remain exceedingly low.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, you cannot get COVID-19 from any of the COVID-19 vaccines because they do not contain elements capable of making you sick. There are two types of COVID-19 vaccines currently available: messenger RNA (mRNA) and viral vector vaccines.

The Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use mRNA to send a message to the cells on how to make a certain harmless spike protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. With those vaccines, your cells use the mRNA information to create a unique spike protein that is found on the surface of the coronavirus. The protein cannot make you sick on its own. But it plays an important role: it introduces your immune system to a protein that it has never seen before, and gives it the opportunity to create antibodies against it. This way, if your body is ever confronted by the actual coronavirus, your immune system already knows which antibodies it needs to kill the virus and protect you from illness.

The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine works similarly to mRNA vaccines. However, instead of using mRNA as the messenger, viral vector vaccines deliver the spike protein instructions by adding them to a common cold virus, which is modified so that it cannot make you sick. When you receive the vaccine, the harmless virus enters your cells, and information on how to make the spike protein is picked up by the cell’s mRNA.

Are there any reasons a person should not get vaccinated?

There are no diagnoses or conditions that prohibit a person from being vaccinated, but certain people should consult with their doctor before getting the vaccine. This includes the following groups:

  • people with a history of a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine
  • people who have a condition that affects their immune system
  • people who are getting radiation therapy or chemotherapy

If you are in any of these groups, talk with your doctor before making a vaccination appointment.