Thursday, January 14, 2021

Get a COVID vaccine if you're eligible!


On Tuesday, I got vaccinated at a City site in the Bronx. I was given the Moderna vaccine and although my arm was a bit sore and I had a headache (it went away with Tylenol), I was fine on Wednesday.  My husband got vaccinated through his employer (Columbia) Wednesday morning with the Pfizer vaccine, and he's had no reaction at all.  You can schedule an appointment at  or Mt. Sinai's website.  or call 877-VAX-4NYC.  I'm sharing this because I know some people are nervous about getting vaccinated. 


The technology that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use ("mRNA") has been studied for years and has gone through all the proper safety trials.  These vaccines are NOT the virus itself, so you cannot get COVID from the shot. Instead, the vaccine primes your body to recognize (and then attack) just the spiky outside of the virus. 


While many people have a 1- or 2-day reaction to the second shot (you need two shots to be protected about 95%), COVID is way worse.  Many people with COVID are hospitalized, and many of those die. Risks are higher for those who are older - the very people for whom vaccines are now available.  But even younger people who have mild illness or are asymptomatic have experienced heart and lung damage - as tested in some college athletes.   Some people are still sick from COVID months after.  


Dr. Fauci estimates that about 70% to 85% of the population has to be vaccinated (or have had documented COVID) for life to return to some semblance of normal.  That's a lot higher than for the flu shot.  And vaccines work!

Viruses die out when there are not a lot of other people conveniently available to get infected.  That's what "herd immunity" is about:  when MOST people in a population are immune, the virus just dies out.  The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines work for 95 out of 100 people.   But you won't know whether you're one of the 5 unlucky ones. So even after you get vaccinated, wear a mask and observe social distancing until some 85% of us have been vaccinated and we get herd immunity.  Then we'll all be able to breathe safely again!  Click on "read more" to see if you're eligible. 

Sue Susman



 Eligible New Yorkers in Phase 1a and 1b are:

  • High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff)
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities
  • Federally Qualified Health Center employees
  • EMS workers
  • Coroners, medical examiners and certain funeral workers
  • Staff and residents at OPWDD, OMH and OASAS facilities
  • Urgent Care providers
  • Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff
  • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care
  • All staff who are in direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • This includes, but is not limited to,
    • Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff 
    • Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff
    • Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff
    • Registered Nurses
    • Specialty medical practices of all types
    • Dentists and Orthodontists and their staff
    • Psychiatrists and Psychologists and their staff
    • Physical Therapists and their staff
    • Optometrists and their staff
    • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Aides
    • Home care workers
    • Hospice workers
  • Staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive COVID vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program
Beginning January 11, 2021:
  • Individuals Age 65 and older
  • First Responder and Support Staff for First Responder Agencies
    • Fire Service
      • State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
      • Local Fire Services, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
    • Police and Investigators
      • State Police, including Troopers
      • State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers
      • SUNY Police
      • Sheriffs' Offices
      • County Police Departments and Police Districts
      • City, Town, and Village Police Departments
      • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments
      • State Field Investigators, including Department of Motor Vehicles, State Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Services, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services, and State Liquor Authority
    • Public Safety Communications
      • Emergency Communication and Public Safety Answering Point Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
    • Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel
      • Court Officers
      • Other Police or Peace Officers
      • Support or Civilian Staff for Any of the above services, agencies, or facilities
  • Corrections
    • State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Personnel, including correction and parole officers
    • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers
    • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers
    • State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • In-person college instructors
  • P-12 Schools
    • P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff and support staff including bus drivers)
    • Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
    • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Providers
    • Exempt Childcare setting
  • Grocery store workers
  • Employees or Support Staff of Licensed or Registered Childcare Setting
  • Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Childcare Providers
  • Public Transit
    • Airline and airport employees
    • Passenger railroad employees
    • Subway and mass transit employees (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
    • Ferry employees
    • Port Authority employees
    • Public bus employees
  • Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of the same household
  • Individual working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a po