Questions About the VACCINE

For information about the vaccine, safety, clinics, FAQs, and more:

• Visit the NYS COVID-19 vaccine website,

• Call the NYS Vaccination Hotline, 1.833.NYS.4VAX (1.833.697.4829).

• Call the Upstate COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, 315.464.3979 (option #2)

• Email your questions to CovidVaccineInfo@Upstate.edu.

Everyone age 5 and over is eligible to receive the vaccine! The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 5 and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for those age 18 and up. Learn more here.

Everyone 18 and older and received their Moderna vaccine 2-dose series at least five months ago or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago are eligible for a booster dose.

Everyone 5 and older who received their Pfizer vaccine 2-dose series at least five months ago are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster.

Second Booster Dose:

As of March 29, 2022, a second booster is recommended for certain people. This second booster dose (Pfizer or Moderna vaccine only) is given at least 4 months after the first booster. Those who are eligible include:

    • Adults ages 50+
    • People ages 12+ who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
    • Adults ages 18+ who received Johnson & Johnson for their first shot and booster

Learn more about boosters here.

As of March 29, 2022, a second booster is recommended for certain people. This second booster dose (Pfizer or Moderna vaccine only) is given at least 4 months after the first booster. Those who are eligible include:

  • Adults ages 50+
  • People ages 12+ who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
  • Adults ages 18+ who received Johnson & Johnson for their first shot and booster

Learn more about boosters here.

You do not need to have insurance to get the vaccine. Insurance information will be collected, but there will be no out-of-pocket costs.

Your second dose must be the same vaccine as your first dose. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines both require a second dose. The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose.

The second dose must be administered at least 21 days (Pfizer vaccine) or 28 days (Moderna vaccine) after the first dose.

For booster shots, you may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

The clinic at the Expo Center at the Fairgrounds was run by New York State, so please call their COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline, which is open 7AM - 10PM, 7 days a week: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

For the Onondaga County clinic, please be prepared for your appointment with the following:

  1. Make an appointment HERE for ages 12 and older.
  2. Complete the screening and consent form.

    Please print and complete the consent form. If you are immunocompromised, please complete this form. The links will also be provided in the confirmation email you receive once your appointment is made.

  3. Provide proof of age upon arrival at the clinic.

    Please note that children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. 

  4. Bring your insurance card with you to the clinic. You will be asked for insurance information BUT the vaccine is free and there will never be a charge to you, and you do not need to have insurance to get the vaccine.

It is normal to have certain reactions after a vaccination. There may be redness, swelling or pain around the injection site. Fatigue, fever, headache and aching limbs are also not uncommon in the first three days after vaccination. When mild side effects occur, they are a normal sign your body is building protection to the virus, and most go away in a few days. Learn more here.

After receiving your vaccine, please register for v-safe, a smartphone-based tool that provides personalized health check-ins so you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects or report side effects through the CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

The groundbreaking cooperation between leading medical experts here in America and pharmaceutical companies globally has made a return to normal possible thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. The speed of development was due to the sharing of research on a scale never attempted before – and every study, and every phase of every trial, was carefully reviewed and approved by a safety board and the FDA. The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual oversight and expert approval. Data will continue to be collected two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that the long-term effects are safe.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated* or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster* but not yet boosted, quarantine for 5 days, where day 0 is the last date of exposure.
  • If you are fully vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster, no quarantine is required.
  • If you are up to date on your vaccination (fully vaccinated and boosted) no quarantine is required.
  • If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, no quarantine is required.

K-12 Schools

Students and school staff who have been in contact with a positive case—regardless of vaccination status or where the exposure took place—may attend school, ​ride the bus, and participate in school-based extracurricular activities IF THEY:

  • are asymptomatic, and
  • wear a mask for 10 days, both in and out of school, and
  • test regularly

Learn more here.

Everyone age 5 and over in New York State is eligible to receive the vaccine! The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 5 and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those age 18 and up.

Proof of age is required (birth certificate, driver's license, non-driver's ID, school ID, etc.), and children under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Please also bring your COVID-19 vaccination card with you to your second, third, or booster dose appointments to show the date(s) of your previous vaccinations.

• Use the NEW COVID-19 Vaccine Finder

• Call your healthcare provider

• For appointments at an Onondaga County clinic, go HERE

• For appointments at the NYS clinics including the Fairgrounds, go HERE or call the New York State Vaccination Hotline at 1.833.NYS.4VAX (1.833.697.4829).

If your vaccination card is lost or damaged, contact your primary care provider who can access your immunization record in NYSIIS or the Health Information Exchange and provide you with the necessary documentation.

 

Questions About TESTING

Anyone can get tested for COVID-19. Call your primary care physician, search for a test site near you, take a home test, make an appointment at an Onondaga County testing location, or through Upstate Medical University or the Syracuse Community Health Center. Physicians, pharmacies, and urgent care centers offer testing as well, please call ahead to inquire.

If you do an at-home COVID test and you test positive, please submit your results HERE.

PCR testing is available through Upstate Medical University and the Syracuse Community Health Center and Onondaga County. Physicians, pharmacies, and urgent care centers may offer PCR testing as well, please call ahead to inquire.

Yes, Onondaga County offers PCR testing, click here for times, locations, and the link to register

Anyone can now get tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether you have symptoms. It is especially important to get tested when:

  • An individual is symptomatic or has a history of symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, and/or trouble breathing), particularly if the individual is 70 years of age or older, the individual has a weakened immune system, or the individual has an underlying health condition); or
  • An individual has had close contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19; or
  • An individual is employed as a health care worker, first responder, or other essential worker who directly interacts with the public.
  • All domestic and international travelers should continue to follow all CDC testing recommendations.

There are treatments available for those who are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, but treatment must be started early to work, so don’t delay! Contact your health care provider for treatment options that may be available to you, such as antivirals or monoclonal antibody therapy. 

Contact the provider where the test was given.

If you tested positive and are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, there are treatments available but they must be started early to work, so don’t delay! Contact your health care provider for treatment options that may be available to you, such as antivirals or monoclonal antibody therapy.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must immediately isolate and notify close contacts who may have been exposed. Learn more about what you need to do here.

If you tested positive on an at-home test, please submit your results HERE.

An antibody test looks for the presence of antibodies, which are specific proteins made in response to infections. Antibodies can be found in the blood of people who are tested after infection and show that people have had an immune response to the infection. Antibody test results are especially important for detecting previous infections with few or no symptoms. We do not know, however, if the antibodies that result from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide someone with immunity from future infection.

If you would like to receive antibody testing, please contact your primary care provider. Please keep in mind the following:
• The offered test may not have been reviewed by the FDA.
• Negative results do not rule out COVID-19 infection
• Positive antibody test results does not mean you have immunity against the virus

Information about the Plasma Project at Upstate can be found here.

 

Questions About ISOLATION and QUARANTINE

If you test positive, immediately isolate yourself, and notify your close contacts and your workplace or school. Learn more about what you need to do here.

When you have met the requirements for release from isolation or quarantine, you may complete a self-attestation form (see links below) as legal documentation for your isolation or quarantine and for New York Paid Family Leave COVID-19 claims. 

These forms are for your own use, DO NOT submit them to the Health Department. If you do not have access to a printer, email bdccovid19@ongov.net or call 315-435-3236 for a paper form.

Attestation Form for Isolation:  English | Spanish
Attestation Form for Quarantine:  English | Spanish

Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, while quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others. Learn more here.

There are several factors that determine whether you need to quarantine. If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, see if you need to quarantine here or by answering a few yes or no questions on this helpful flowchart.

When possible, find a friend or family member to make a contact-free delivery of necessities to your home or use a home delivery service. The Nutrition Assistance Hotline is a resource available and can be reached at 315.218.1987.

Quarantine is at least 5 days from the date of exposure to the COVID case, which could vary from contact to contact based on their last date of exposure to the positive case.

If you are fully vaccinated and boosted (with the booster at least 2 weeks before the first date of exposure) or fully vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster, no quarantine is required unless you have symptoms.

Information about Paid Family Leave for COVID-19 can be found here.

The Onondaga County Health Department is providing self-attestation forms in place of the Commissioner’s Orders that were previously sent by the case investigators and contact tracers. These new forms are legal documentation and may be used for New York Paid Family Leave COVID-19 claims.

You must remain in quarantine for at least 5 days. Learn more about quarantine here. At the time of your release, complete the Affirmation of Quarantine form which serves as legal documentation for your quarantine period. 

Onondaga County Health Department is now providing self-attestation forms (links below) in place of the Commissioner’s Orders that were previously sent by the case investigators and contact tracers. These new forms are legal documentation and may be used for release from isolation or quarantine, for your employer, and for New York Paid Family Leave COVID-19 claims.

Attestation Form for Isolation:  English | Spanish
Attestation Form for Quarantine:  English | Spanish

If your employer is not providing you with the required number of COVID-19 sick leave days OR not properly paying you for your COVID-19 sick leave days for COVID-19 quarantine leave, you may file a complaint with the Department of Labor at: https://forms.ny.gov/s3/Department-of-Labor-COVID-19-Complaint

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Questions About PREVENTION MEASURES

The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas of high transmission which includes Onondaga County. On December 10, 2021, Governor Hochul announced masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement, The mandate is in effect through the end of January 2022.

You can purchase them online or you can make your own masks. Guidelines by the CDC for making your own mask can be found here.

As of June 25, 2021, the New York State Travel Advisory is no longer in effect.  As such, travelers arriving in New York are no longer required to submit traveler health forms.

All travelers, domestic and international, should continue to follow all CDC travel requirements.

 

Questions About BUSINESSES or FACILITIES

You may issue a general statement that someone at the facility has tested positive and remind everyone to practice personal protection measures and advise them to self-monitor for symptoms. You may not identify the positive individual. If you or someone at the facility is identified as an exposed contact of a case during the investigation process, OCHD will reach out to you directly and provide further guidance.

 

Questions From HEALTHCARE WORKERS

Please contact 315.435.2525 for information about testing and PPE.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is the regulatory authority for Nursing Homes and Adult Care facilities.

NYSDOH Nursing Home and ICF/MR Surveillance is responsible for investigating complaints and incidents for nursing homes in New York State that are related to a State and/or Federal regulatory violation. A complaint against a nursing home should be submitted in writing by the complainant. There are two ways to submit a complaint: