COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Patients
NYU Langone is offering patients age 12 and older the COVID-19 vaccine. 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 first COVID-19 vaccination appointment?
NYU Langone patients age 12 and older can schedule their first 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.
Who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination?
NYU Langone is offering an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine, known as a booster, to eligible people in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Eligible patients who received the Pfizer–BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as their primary vaccination series may choose to receive a booster beginning six months after their second dose. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine may receive a booster beginning two months after their initial vaccination.
The FDA has authorized booster vaccinations for people in any of the following categories:
- people age 65 and older
- people age 18-64 and at high risk of severe COVID-19 because of an underlying medical condition, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious or chronic conditions
- people at high risk of workplace exposure to COVID-19, including but not limited to healthcare workers, teachers and day care staff, and grocery workers
Eligible patients can make a vaccination appointment online through your NYU Langone Health MyChart account. Availability is based on our supply of the vaccines, which may be limited. If you do not see available appointments, please check back, as appointments are being added regularly.
You can choose to schedule an appointment for the same type of vaccine you received in your primary vaccination series, or you have the option to choose a different vaccine as your booster. There is not enough data at this time to suggest receiving any one of the vaccines as a booster is preferable to receiving another. Each of the three available booster vaccines has been shown to increase antibody levels, regardless of which vaccine you received in your primary series.
If you received your initial 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 may be 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?
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 to be vaccinated?
Yes, everyone age 12 and older should be vaccinated against COVID-19, including people who had the disease. There is evidence of natural immunity after the initial infection, but people who had COVID-19 are at increased risk for reinfection about three months after the initial illness. This points to immunity after vaccination being more robust than immunity received from exposure to the virus, and why vaccination is more likely to protect you from future infection. Although breakthrough infections occur after vaccination, data shows that the rate is much lower than after infection.
Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine is approved for use in people age 12 and older, and we are making the vaccine available to patients in that age group.
The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine may soon be approved under Emergency Use Authorization for children ages 5 to 11. If your child is a patient at NYU Langone, ensure that you have shared access to your child’s NYU Langone Health MyChart account (also known as proxy access) so that we may offer them a vaccination appointment when they are eligible. Learn more about requesting access to your child’s MyChart account.
Until vaccines are available for everyone, vaccinating those age 12 and older against COVID-19 helps protect younger children from contracting the disease and limits transmission in schools.
Can pregnant or breastfeeding people get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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. Tens of thousands of people have received the vaccine while pregnant, and there has been no evidence of any adverse effects for mothers or babies.
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.
How can I be sure the vaccine is safe?
More than 65 percent of all Americans have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, and hundreds of thousands more are safely inoculated each day.
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. All three vaccines—Pfizer–BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen—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 since been granted full FDA approval for use in people age 16 and older. Full approval is based on updated data from the initial clinical trials, including research into long-term side effects. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines, as well as the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine for people age 12 to 15, 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.
Why do some vaccines require two doses?
In clinical trials, the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines required a second dose to achieve the best possible protection, which after two shots is over 90 percent. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a single dose, which is 72 percent effective after just one shot. The FDA required that a vaccine have an efficacy rate of 50 percent—about what is found in the flu vaccine—in order to be approved. All three vaccines prevent severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization, and death. During all 3 clinical trials, there were no COVID-19–related deaths among the more than 120,000 participants.
If you received a vaccine that requires two doses, you will receive a notification in your MyChart account to schedule your appointment for the second dose of vaccine. You will be directed to schedule within the appropriate time frame based on the type of COVID-19 vaccine you received. Please schedule this appointment as soon as possible.
After your immunization, it takes your immune system two to four weeks to achieve maximum vaccination protection. You should continue to wear a mask and adhere to other safety guidelines even after you are vaccinated, and until the virus is no longer circulating.
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, and the Delta variant of COVID-19 has caused more breakthrough infections than other strains of the virus. However, fully vaccinated people with breakthrough infections tend to experience much milder symptoms or no symptoms at all, and the vaccine continues to provide strong protection against severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and death. No vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing illness, and breakthrough infections in vaccinated people are to be expected and are not an indication that the vaccines don’t work.
The vaccine remains highly effective against serious illness, even as the Delta variant has surged. Unvaccinated people account for nearly 97 percent of those who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York state since the start of the year. Overall, disease, hospitalization, and death rates for fully vaccinated people remain exceedingly low.
If I’m fully vaccinated, will I need a booster vaccination?
Research shows that in healthy, fully vaccinated people, the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are highly effective months after vaccination and extremely effective at preventing severe disease. But in some people, including older adults, people with compromised immune systems, and people with underlying medical conditions, the immune response from the vaccines is more likely to decrease over time. Additionally, recent variants of COVID-19 are more contagious, and therefore more likely to cause breakthrough infections in vaccinated people.
Healthy, fully vaccinated people should consider receiving a booster when they become eligible, especially if they are in close contact with young children who cannot receive the vaccine, or with people who are susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19. If you have questions about whether you should receive a booster when you are eligible, please speak with your doctor.
Should I receive a different type of vaccine as a booster?
The FDA and CDC provided guidance on “mixing and matching” vaccines, which means receiving a second or third dose of a different vaccine than your primary vaccination series. There is not yet enough evidence to suggest that receiving different vaccines provides a different level of protection, but in a multicenter study that included researchers from the NYU Langone Vaccine Center, mixing and matching vaccines did not increase side effects and resulted in increased antibody responses in participants. If you have questions about which vaccine you should receive as a booster, please speak with your doctor.
When you schedule your booster vaccination at NYU Langone, you can choose the type of vaccination you receive. Appointment availability in MyChart is based on our current supply of the vaccines, which may be limited. New appointment times are being added regularly.
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.
The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine works similarly to the mRNA vaccine. 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.
With both 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.
Are there any reasons a person should not get vaccinated?
You should not get vaccinated if any of the following statements apply to you:
- You are currently feeling sick.
- You have an active COVID-19 infection. You should wait at least 10 days after you have received a positive COVID-19 test result or 72 hours after your fever ends to schedule an appointment. This ensures the immune system can respond effectively to the vaccine. You can wait up to a month after your positive test, but unless directed by your doctor, there is no need to wait longer than that.
- You are quarantining after a significant exposure to COVID-19. You can schedule a vaccination appointment after your quarantine period is over and you have no COVID-19 symptoms.
- You received a COVID-19 diagnosis and were treated with COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusions or convalescent plasma within the past 90 days.
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
- people who are taking medications that affect their immune system or who have taken corticosteroids for more than 14 days
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 people continue to limit risk of COVID-19?
Until the vast majority of the population is vaccinated, transmission is still possible, so continue to protect yourself and your family by maintaining 6 feet of distance and wearing a mask when around others. Other ways to prevent the spread include washing your hands regularly, avoiding crowded indoor gatherings, staying away from others if you are sick, and routinely cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
After vaccination, will people still need to wear masks?
Remaining vigilant about avoiding the spread of COVID-19 is crucial. Vaccines are not cures, and no vaccine is 100 percent effective. There is a small chance that you could become infected with COVID-19 after vaccination and potentially infect others, regardless of whether you are showing symptoms or not. Infection can also happen within the weeks it takes for your body to develop an immune response after vaccination. For these reasons, precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing should continue in accordance with CDC guidelines for everyone as COVID-19 continues to circulate.