You are here
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Weill Cornell Medicine, in partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian, is preparing to acquire and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. Following a COVID-19 vaccine Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), coronavirus vaccinations will be available for the general public in 2021.
We are committed to keeping you safe and protecting you and your loved ones from COVID-19 during this unprecedented pandemic. COVID-19 vaccinations will be prioritized according to guidelines defined by state and federal agencies, and vaccines are expected to be distributed in phases.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine release plans and protocols, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the latest.
At this time, appointments for the vaccine are only available for those that are eligible per New York State guidelines. Effective January 11, 2021, population groups included in Phase 1a & Phase 1b are eligible to receive the vaccine. To see if you’re eligible, please review the New York State Department of Health guidance on the groups included in this current phase of distribution.
Existing Weill Cornell Medicine patients who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, will soon be able to schedule through our Connect patient portal for an appointment, as times become available in the upcoming weeks. Weill Cornell Medicine is only able to offer vaccines to existing patients. For more details about eligibility and scheduling availability please visit VaccineTogetherNY.org. To ensure your Connect account is active, please visit here to login or sign up today.
We understand that many people will be interested in receiving a vaccination. Due to limited supply, availability will also be limited. Please note, other vaccine sites for NYC residents are available and continue to open around the city to serve those in our community who are eligible. You may search for these locations using the NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Finder.
We recommend that all patients sign up for a Connect account, as we will be communicating vaccine updates through the patient portal. Connect will also be used for scheduling once you are deemed eligible to receive the vaccine. To ensure your Connect account is active, please visit here to login or sign up today.
We recognize that all Americans are eager to learn more about the vaccine, so we have compiled a few frequently asked questions to address. More information about the vaccine will be updated as it becomes available.
COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Why vaccinate against COVID-19?
Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19. A vaccine is a proven and safe way to help your body fight sickness; by strengthening your immune system to develop immunity to a disease, without having to get the disease first.
Who makes the COVID-19 vaccine?
Several manufacturers have been working to produce COVID-19 vaccines. The first vaccines expected to be authorized by the FDA are made by Pfizer and Moderna; both are similar in how they work and both are effective.
When can I get vaccinated?
At this time, appointments for the vaccine are only available for those who are eligible per New York State guidelines. Weill Cornell Medicine is only able to offer vaccines to existing patients. For more details about eligibility and scheduling availability, please visit https://vaccinetogetherny.org
Vaccines will be continue to be distributed in phases. We will be communicating vaccine updates through Connect patient portal, so we encourage you to sign up for an account today or update your current one, if it has been inactive.
For non-WCM patients, other vaccine sites for NYC residents are available and continue to open around the city to serve those who are eligible. You may search for these locations using the NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Finder.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes. Extensive adult clinical trials were conducted with thousands of participants for the FDA to evaluate the vaccine's safety and effectiveness. This was a thorough process and no steps were skipped in the trials. In addition, New York State has set up a task force to review the vaccine before distribution in New York, and our own experts have reviewed that information.
Since December 2020, millions of Americans have received the vaccine without major unexpected side effects.
The vaccine is not recommended for people who may be allergic to the vaccines' ingredients or for children under the age of 16 years old. Please consult with your physician first.
To learn more about U.S. COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, please visit clinicaltrials.gov.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective?
Yes. Early results show greater than 95% effectiveness on non-pregnant adults. Since only non-pregnant adults participated in the early clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines, it may not be recommended for children or pregnant adults at first. However, clinical trials continue to expand their recruitment into more populations and the groups recommended to receive the vaccines could grow in the near future.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain the mRNA code for a viral protein. This code allows the person’s own body to make the protein that then stimulates their immune system to create antibodies to help prevent illness. The vaccine is injected into the arm muscle and two doses are required to be effective.
Can I contract COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. It is impossible for the vaccine to give you COVID-19; it does not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
What are some side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine?
While some people have no reaction to the vaccine, the most common reaction reported is soreness at the injection site. Other reactions that may be seen for a limited time include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint aches, and less commonly, fever. These reactions are normal and are a sign that your body is building immunity. These reactions are more likely to be experienced with the second dose. You will receive more information at the time of vaccination.
To learn more about possible side effects, please to the CDC's Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines.
Is the vaccine recommended for children?
Since only non-pregnant adults participated in the early adult clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines, it may not be recommended for children under 16 years old at first. However, clinical trials continue to expand their recruitment into more populations and the groups recommended to receive the vaccines could grow in the near future.
Am I required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
No one is presently required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated. If you're not yet eligible for the vaccine, we highly recommend regularly washing your hands, wearing a mask, and keeping six feet between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get vaccinated?
Yes, because some people have become re-infected with COVID-19 and the vaccine might provide better protection.
Will I still need to wear a mask after I get my COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, at least for a time. During the vaccine rollout it is still essential to follow CDC recommendations and use all available tools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including masks and social distancing. As vaccines are distributed more widely, some of these requirements may change.
How many doses of the vaccine is required?
Both vaccines require two doses and you need to take the same one twice. For the Pfizer vaccine, a second dose is required 21 days later. For Moderna, 28 days later.
Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Should pregnant, expecting, or lactating adults take the vaccine?
Pregnant patients who get COVID-19 are at greater risk of being hospitalized and have an increased risk of death, and an even greater risk if they have another chronic condition. Discuss the vaccine with your provider at your next visit and weigh the risk and benefits
Recommendations for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), FDA & CDC below:
- If you are thinking about getting pregnant you should get the COVID-19 vaccine to prevent the possible complications of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy.
- If you are currently pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine, especially if you are in a high risk group (e.g., other chronic condition). While there were only a few pregnant women in the Pfizer and Moderna studies there is very little reason, based on how the vaccine is made, to think that there is concern about safety. Larger studies testing the vaccine in pregnancy are being planned.
- If you are breastfeeding you should go ahead and get the vaccine. There is no way for the vaccine to get into the breast milk or affect the baby. You should not stop breast feeding to get the vaccine.
Can I choose which vaccine to receive?
No. You will given the vaccine available at the time of your appointment. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have extremely similar efficacy and safety. There are no recommendations for specific individuals who should get the Pfizer vs. Moderna vaccine.
Should I get it if I have allergic reactions?
As with any vaccine, of the millions of people who have received these vaccines, there have been a very small number that have experienced severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anyone who has had a history of a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should NOT receive the vaccine. Please consult with your doctor first.
Does the current vaccine protect against the new coronavirus strain?
Yes, experts believe the COVID-19 vaccines will be effective against this variant. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that the new variant strain is able to evade immunity induced by current COVID-19 vaccines.
How can I see if I'm eligible for the vaccine?
Please complete this New York State Pre-Screener Form to find out if you may be eigible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
How will I know if there are available COVID-19 vaccines?
Visit VaccineTogther. Appointment availability changes daily with vaccine supplies. Eligibility of patients for vaccination is determined by state guidelines. We make appointments available to eligible patients as soon as we know vaccine doses are available. When we have more vaccine, we will make appointments available in Connect.
Eligible patients who log into Connect will be able to schedule vaccination appointments as they are made available.
What is the latest communication to patients?
Please review our patient notice from January 14, 2020 here.