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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

All New York State residents ages 16 and older are eligble to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. PLEASE NOTE: Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for 16- and 17-year-olds. Learn more 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
  • Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Janssen, individuals age 18 and older

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses a few weeks apart. The J&J vaccine is a single dose vaccine. 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. Appointment availability is based on vaccine allocation expected to be provided by New York State. Walk-ins will be accomodated as supply allows. Visit our Vaccine Appointments page for upcoming vaccine events and scheduling links.

You can also call your primary care physician or use the State's "Am I Eligible?" application.

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.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be fully vaccinated. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose vaccine.

According to the CDC, studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines teach your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19, which means people are considered fully protected two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

You should keep using all the tools available to protect yourself and others until you are fully vaccinated. After you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

Yes. Especially, in indoor public spaces, the vaccination status of other people or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is likely unknown. Therefore, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask that fits snugly against the sides of your face and doesn’t have gaps, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often, and follow any applicable workplace or school guidance.

However, according to CDC guidance, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things they had stopped doing because of the pandemic:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • You can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated you should still do the following:

  • You should still protect yourself and others by wearing a mask whenever you are:
    • In indoor public settings
    • Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people (including children) from more than one other household
    • Visiting indoors with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk
  • You should still avoid indoor large gatherings
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and isolate from others.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.

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.

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.