What You Need to Know About Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine in New York City

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New Yorkers are now receiving vaccines against COVID-19, and the state recently expanded eligibility rules for who can receive them. More than 80% of New York adults are currently eligible to get vaccinated.

Here are answers to some of the common questions:

Who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine, as of March 22?

With New York more than three months into its vaccine rollout, a large portion of the adult population is now eligible. 

Starting Tuesday, March 23, all adults aged 50 years and older are eligible to get vaccinated. 

People with a wide range of preexisting conditions that can make a case of COVID-19 even more serious are also eligible. The state’s list of those conditions include cancer, obesity, pregnancy, asthma, heart conditions and illnesses that cause compromised immune systems, such as HIV.

The eligibility rules now also include a wide range of professions, public safety workers — police officers and firefighters — as well as teachers, correction department staffers, public transportation workers, public-facing grocery workers, in-person college instructors, restaurant and food delivery workers, and people who live or work in certain homeless shelters.

The latest professional group to become eligible includes people who public employees and people who work at nonprofit organizations who provide “public-facing services to New Yorkers in need.”

Here is a detailed list of who is currently eligible.

How do I make an appointment?

You can use this website to find vaccination locations and in some cases schedule a vaccine online, and this website to check your eligibility. 

The state has also opened a hotline for scheduling appointments over the phone: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). The city has opened its own hotline as well, which will have a 24-hour reservation system by Friday, Jan. 15: 1-877-VAX-4NYC (1-877-829-4692).

Where are the vaccination sites?

Medical workers and city health workers are administering the vaccine at sites in all five boroughs. You can view the locations on the map here

However, people attempting to schedule vaccinations have found that they are not always able to schedule appointments close to where they live or even in their own borough. One woman who spoke to NY1 said that her options included sites in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, even though she lives in Brooklyn. 

The city has also opened five mass vaccination sites, which are set to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 

  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Army Terminal, in Sunset Park
  • Bronx: Bathgate Contract Postal Station, next to Crotona Park
  • Manhattan: 125 Worth Street, in Lower Manhattan
  • Staten Island: Gotham Health at 165 Vanderbilt Avenue
  • Queens: 34-33 Junction Boulevard in Corona

There are several other mass vaccination sites operated by the city, state and federal government in every borough, including:

  • Manhattan: Javits Convention Center
  • Manhattan: For Washington Armory, Washington Heights
  • Bronx: Yankee Stadium
  • Bronx: Bay Eden Senior Center, 1220 East 229th St.
  • Queens: Citi Field
  • Queens: York College, in Jamaica
  • Brooklyn: Medgar Evers College, in Crown Heights

The city’s Health + Hospitals says that all vaccine sites are ADA compliant.

How much does it cost?

The vaccine is free to all New Yorkers, the city says. At the same time, insurance experts and consumer advocates have warned that the complexity of the American health care system may lead some people to receive bills for care related to receiving the vaccine

I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I still receive the vaccine?

The city has said that you do not need to share your immigrant status to receive the vaccine. Both city and state health departments have said they will not share patient information with federal immigration authorities. In December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed back against a requirement that states share vaccine recipient data with the federal government, saying it could dissuade undocumented immigrants from receiving the vaccine.

I’m eligible for a vaccine. How long is the wait?

Wait times for vaccines have fluctuated dramatically over the past three months, with some people finding same-day appointments and others booking slots a month away. Many New Yorkers have found that appointments at state-run sites become available in large blocs on Thursdays and Fridays, after shipments of vaccines arrive from the federal government. 

Once you have your appointment time, be prepared to block out an hour or more for some busy sites.

Listen below for more information on the city’s complicated and flawed vaccine rollout. 

Is the vaccine mandatory?

No, it is voluntary. De Blasio told NY1 on Jan. 11 that making the vaccines voluntary for city workers is the “right approach,” since some people are wary of potential side effects. Some vaccine recipients have reported flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine, and there have been a very small number of anaphylactic allergic reactions, though none of the vaccines have led to serious safety concerns, health experts have repeatedly said. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Who is next in line to receive the vaccine?

President Joe Biden has set May 1 as the date by which all Americans will be eligible for the vaccine, and New York is ahead of pace to reach that goal, with the majority of its adult population currently eligible to be immunized. As of Monday, March 22, about a quarter of New Yorkers have received at least one dose, with 12% fully vaccinated, putting New York in the middle of the pack for U.S. states and territories. 

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This is an ongoing story. Check back for more developments. 

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