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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Click on a question below to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and the distribution process.

Frequently Asked Questions

New York State is currently distributing COVID-19 vaccines, as part of its phased plan, to high-risk priority population groups. Learn more about who is currently eligible on the State’s website.

Currently, two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the FDA and are being distributed by New York State:

  • Pfizer and BioNTech, individuals age 16 and older
  • Moderna, individuals age 18 and older

Both vaccines require two doses a few weeks apart. Learn more about each vaccine from the CDC.

Vaccines are available to everyone in New York State at no cost

Dutchess County Government has established initial Point of Dispensing (POD) locations throughout the county to vaccinate eligible individuals by appointment only. Appointment availability is based on vaccine allocation expected to be provided by New York State.


You can also call your primary care physician or use the State's "Am I Eligible?" application. If you are in a priority group currently eligible for vaccination, the site will show you the location of nearby health care providers who can give you the vaccine. Just choose the one you prefer and schedule the appointment.

Vaccine eligibility guidelines have been set by New York State. To see who is currently eligible in the current Phase distribution, visit the State’s website.

If you are eligible and have been unable to make an appointment, PLEASE NOTE: Current vaccine supply is very limited and Governor Cuomo announced that distribution to Phase 1a and 1b is expected to take 14 weeks based on current projected vaccine availability. We understand the frustration, but please have patience as it may be several weeks before you can get an appointment as demand far exceeds supply. As we receive more vaccine doses from the State, more appointments will be made available.

According to the FDA and CDC, you should not get either vaccine if you:

  • Had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient
  • Had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine

A complete list of ingredients is available in the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

You can check your eligibility on the State's "Am I Eligible?" application.

The app will ask for information such as your name, where you live, and what you do for a living. If you are in a priority group currently eligible for vaccination, the site will show you the location of nearby health care providers who can give you the vaccine. Just choose the one you prefer, and schedule the appointment. 

If it’s not yet your turn, you can check back anytime to find out when the time is right.

You will need two doses of the same vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) to be fully vaccinated.

According to the CDC, the goal of the vaccine is to teach your immune system how to recognize COVID-19, so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.

Yes. It is important for everyone to continue covering their mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often and staying at least six feet away from others. Even though vaccines reduce symptom severity and duration of illness if you were to get sick, you still need to follow precautions to minimize the risk to yourself and others.

The FDA has reported mild side effects from both vaccines including:

  • injection site pain, swelling or redness
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

Read a factsheet from the CDC about the “Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines” (.pdf)

If you experience a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, call 9-1-1, or go to the nearest hospital. Call your primary care doctor if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away. The CDC and FDA also encourage the public to report possible side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to help monitor the safety of vaccines. Learn about the difference between a vaccine side effect and an adverse event.

No. According to the CDC, none of the vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each vaccine is to 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 the body is potentially building immunity.  Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Additional research is needed to determine if the vaccines are safe for children. Currently, no clinical studies of COVID-19 vaccines include children younger than 12 years.

According to the FDA, there are not enough data to inform whether there are vaccine-associated risks specific to pregnancy or lactation. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, discuss your options with your primary care doctor.

New York State and Dutchess County are not mandating the COVID-19 vaccine; however, your employer may require the vaccine, once widely available, as a condition of employment.

‘Herd immunity’ happens when enough people have protection from a disease that it is unlikely that the disease will continue to spread. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. They also do not know how long the vaccine will protect people.

Letting COVID-19 spread through communities naturally would lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death.

Researchers do not yet know how long immunity lasts after vaccination. Please remain vigilant with wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly and maintaining physical distance between you and others.

Yes, you should still get the vaccine if you are medically able.

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and because re-infection is possible, the CDC advises people to get vaccinated, even if they have already been sick.

At this time, experts do not know if or how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. This “natural immunity” varies from person to person and early evidence suggests it may not last very long.

According to the CDC, vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States will not cause you to test positive on viral diagnostic tests used to determine if you have a current infection.

There is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests, which indicate you had a previous infection and you may have some level of protection against the virus. This is the goal of vaccination, to help develop an immune response (antibodies) without getting sick.

Yes, it is possible to get COVID-19 even if you get vaccinated.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build up its immunity, which means you could contract COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination.

According to the CDC, no vaccine is 100 percent effective. If you have COVID-19 symptoms a few days or more after getting the vaccine, follow the guidelines for someone suspected to have contracted the illness. Learn more about testing options in Dutchess County.

No. The CDC does not recommend COVID-19 screening tests before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dutchess County Government has an established mass vaccination plan that includes Point of Distribution (PODs) locations throughout the county and we stand ready to vaccinate people as supply is available. As we receive vaccine from New York State, these PODs will help streamline the vaccination process and help ensure we efficiently vaccinate as many residents as possible. 

As soon as we receive vaccine supply, we will begin publicizing POD locations on our COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.

‘County Employees’ is not a classification in the State’s phased distribution list. In other words, some employees of Dutchess County Government are currently eligible for vaccination, while others are not.

You can use the State's "Am I Eligible?" application to determine if you are in a priority group currently eligible for vaccination.

We have received reports of appointments being cancelled due to accidentally clicking the cancellation link at the bottom of the confirmation email. You can call the vaccine location to see if your appointment can be re-activated, but unfortunately, due to high demand, you may need to schedule another appointment as the timeslot may already be taken by another individual. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you receive your appointment confirmation email from the State's scheduling system, please be careful and DO NOT click the cancellation link at the bottom of the email, unless you need to cancel your appointment (.jpg). Clicking the link WILL cancel your vaccine appointment and, due to demand, that time slot will likely be taken by someone else before the error can be fixed.