On March 29, 2021, Governor Cuomo announced that he plans to open up vaccine access to those aged 16 and up beginning Tuesday, April 6 at 8am.
This news comes at a critical time: Suffolk County is the 17th worst county in the entire country for confirmed COVID case count and 16th for COVID deaths. The county is also currently at the second-highest level ("very high risk") of the 5-level risk scale.
As of March 31, 447,778 people in Suffolk County have received their first dose (around 30% of the total population), and 252,556 people have completed the vaccine series (around 17% of the total population).
Out of the three vaccines available in the US, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently authorized for use on 16- and 17-year-olds (under Emergency Use Authorization). Those ages 18 and up will be eligible for all three.
(N.B. On March 31, 2021, Pfizer-BioNTech also reported positive results in their phase 3 vaccine trials for youth ages 12-15, stating that for that age group, their vaccine “demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses.” They are looking to submit this data to the FDA for EUA.)
|Pfizer-BioNTech||Moderna||Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)|
|Number of doses||2||2||1|
|Interval between doses||3 weeks||1 month||N/A|
|Type of vaccine||mRNA||mRNA||Adenovirus vector|
How to Register for a Vaccine
The vaccine is free to all people living in the US. Vaccines are available at NY State-operated vaccination locations, doctor's offices, pharmacies (e.g. CVS* and Stop&Shop*) and smaller healthcare clinics. Sign-up processes differ for each.
While scheduling an appointment is the best way to ensure you will be vaccinated, vaccines may also be available on a first-come, first-served basis at certain sites.
*Links in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Current is not affiliated with and does not endorse these businesses.
Scheduling an appointment
- Determine your eligibility via this prescreening survey
- If you are eligible, you may schedule an appointment. To search providers close to your location, click here.
- AFTER scheduling an appointment, fill out this MANDATORY state vaccination form.
- Upon completion of the form in step 3, you will receive a submission ID, which you must bring to your appointment. You must also bring proof of eligibility (i.e. legal proof of your date of birth and residency). This includes but is not limited to driver's license, passport, etc.
- If a second dose is needed, it will be automatically scheduled after the first dose.
- For more thorough directions, here's CDC guidance on what to do before, during, and after your vaccine appointment.
The statewide vaccine hotline is 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) and is available to help schedule appointments and answer questions regarding vaccination.
If I am vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask and follow other precautions?
The short answer: yes.
According to the CDC, you are only considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the last required shot in your vaccine series (2nd shot for Pfizer and Moderna, 1st shot for Johnson & Johnson). If you have only received your first Pfizer or Moderna shot, you are NOT fully protected and should continue taking preventative measures (wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, etc.).
Even after you are considered fully vaccinated, you should continue taking precautions to reduce your chance of being exposed to and spreading the virus—while vaccines are effective in preventing the current strain of COVID-19, they may be less effective against certain COVID-19 variants. The CDC is also uncertain of how long vaccination can prevent COVID-19, and whether those vaccinated can still spread the disease.
If you are fully vaccinated, however, you may gather indoors with fully vaccinated people or with unvaccinated people from one other household—unless any of those people are high-risk—without a mask. For more extensive CDC guidelines, visit here.