COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

Vaccine elligibility
COVID vaccine

Comorbidity and COVID-19 Vaccine

Adults of any age with the following conditions due to increased risk of moderate or severe illness or death from the virus that causes COVID-19: 

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer's Disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

For individuals with certain comorbidities or underlying conditions, at state-operated mass vaccination sites (Rochester, Syracuse), any of the following proof is acceptable to prove eligibility:

• Doctor's Letter, or

• Medical Information Evidencing Comorbidity, or

• Signed Certification.

(March 3, 2021) 

COVID-19 Vaccine Scam Alert! 

Scam Alert

Please be alert to COVID-19 vaccine scams. Please don't give your private information over the phone. There is no cost for COVID-19 vaccine. Do NOT give your bank account information. Always ask for the caller's name and phone number. Staff from NYSDOH or Ontario County Public Health will provide our name and phone number for call-back if needed.  (2/16/2021)

Vaccine Clinics:

There are no clinics available at this time. All vaccine clinics will be advertised on our main Ontario County Public Health page and facebook sites.

Individuals 60 years and older:   NYSDOH has designated Health Care Systems/Health Care Provider offices and pharmacies to vaccinate those 65 years and older. Patients in this age category whose doctor office is affiliated with URMC or Rochester Regional Health will be receiving a phone call directly from their doctor office or Health Care System in the next few weeks and will receive an appointment date for vaccination. 

Finger Lakes Community Health and Mosaic Health Rushville are also vaccinating 65 years and older.  

Pharmacies are only able to vaccinate 65 years and older at this time.  Check the following pharmacy websites for vaccination appointments. 

 COVID fraud

Beware of COVID vaccine fraud.  It is a red flag if anyone is promising you the vaccine in exchange for payment. To make a report, call 1-833-VAX-SCAM (1-833-829-7226) or email 

The 4-1-1 On COVID-19 Vaccine Supply

The COVID-19 Vaccine supply from the Federal Government and NYSDOH is extremely limited. Additional New Yorkers will become eligible as the vaccine supply increases. While the vaccination process is underway and even after, every New Yorker should wear a mask, social distance and avoid small and large gatherings.

What vaccines will be available? Two vaccines have been authorized by the FDA and approved by New York State’s independent COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force: One that was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and another that was developed by Moderna. Both vaccines require two doses. Both doses must be from the same manufactory if at all possible. (At vaccine clinics, you generally do not have a choice between the two manufacturers. You will receive what is available.) 

Who is eligible? Over seven million New Yorkers are now eligible for the vaccine. Eligible groups include doctors, nurses and health care workers, people age 65 and over, first responders, teachers, public transit workers, grocery store workers and public safety workers.

We know that you are frustrated and that you want the vaccine as soon as possible. As soon as we receive the vaccine we plan a clinic and create a registration link to share with the public immediately. The link is shared on the front page of our website and our Facebook page (@OCPH).

Not everyone has computer or internet access. We are aware of this. Vaccines will be available at pharmacies, hospitals and through local health departments statewide. Just like you can get a flu vaccine at your doctor's or your pharmacy, soon you will also be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible. 

Other vaccine venues: Additionally, there is a network of State-run sites distributing vaccines statewide — to determine eligibility and schedule appointments at New York State-run vaccination sites only, use the Am I Eligible app or State Run Vaccine Clinics . Second dose appointments will be booked at the site where you receive your first shot. Remember: Both vaccines require two doses for effectiveness.

Where can I find the NYSDOH COVID-19 Distribution Plan?

NYSDOH COVID-19 Distribution Plan

Commonly Asked Question

When the vaccine is available, why should I get vaccinated against COVID-19 if I still have to wear a mask anyway?

#1 COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection.

COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.

#2 COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic.

Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
Cliff notes: The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. CDC: Facts About Vaccines

Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19? 

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19. Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications. CDC: Learn How Vaccines Work

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. 
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. CDC: How Vaccines Work

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others even after I have received the two doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Yes. Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself. CDC will continue to update this page as we learn more.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.
To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often
Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC: FCOVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Can I receive COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine in the same day?

Given the lack of data on the safety and efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, the vaccine series should routinely be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine. However, mRNA COVID-19 and other vaccines may be administered within a shorter period in situations where the benefits of vaccination are deemed to outweigh the potential unknown risks of vaccine coadministration (e.g., tetanus toxoid-containing vaccination as part of wound management, measles or hepatitis A vaccination during an outbreak) or to avoid barriers or delays to mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., in long-term care facility residents or healthcare personnel who received influenza or other vaccinations prior to/upon admission or onboarding). If mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are administered within 14 days of another vaccine, doses do not need to be repeated for either vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

When it is my turn and vaccine is available can I receive vaccine if I have been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Data from clinical trials tells us that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can safely be given to people with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination of people with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be delayed until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and is no longer on isolation. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine safe?

Yes. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make this and other COVID-19 vaccines available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. These data demonstrate that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19). Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Who tracks vaccine reactions?

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines. VAERS is co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS has been accepting and analyzing reports of adverse events (side effects) after a person has received a vaccination since 1990.

Who can report a vaccine reaction?

Anyone can report an adverse event to VAERS. This includes patients and parents (for any vaccine). Healthcare professionals are required to report certain adverse events and vaccine manufacturers are required to report all adverse events that come to their attention. Online reporting form:

VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences to CDC and FDA. VAERS is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused a health problem but is especially useful for detecting unusual or unexpected patterns of adverse event reporting that might indicate a possible safety problem with a vaccine. This way, VAERS can provide CDC and FDA with valuable information that additional work and evaluation is necessary to further assess a possible safety concern. Anyone can complete a VAERS report.

How many COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed in New York? 

The COVID-19 NYSDOH Vaccine Tracker dashboard reports the number of 1st and 2nd dose vaccinations distributed and administered across the state of New York.

Vaccination program numbers are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state’s vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility program.

COVID-19 NYSDOH Vaccine Tracker

(Updated 1/21/2021)