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.

Beginning Tuesday, April 6, everyone age 16 and over in New York State is eligible to receive the vaccine! The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for those age 18 and up.

Beginning Tuesday, April 6, everyone age 16 and over in New York State is eligible to receive the vaccine! The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those age 18 and up. Proof of age is required, and children under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Supply is limited and demand is high, so it may take some time to get an appointment.

New York State Clinics (including the Fairgrounds)
Make an appointment at a New York State-run vaccine site here or call the New York State Vaccination Hotline, 1.833.NYS.4VAX (1.833.697.4829).

Onondaga County Clinic
Clinics are by appointment only, register here. If there are no appointments available, please check back. Timeslots are added once the vaccine supply is confirmed each week. This assures there is enough vaccine for the number of appointments that are scheduled and prevents cancellations due to inadequate supply.

Local Pharmacies
Many local pharmacies are able to provide the vaccine for senior citizens. Please contact the pharmacy directly for more information.

Register for an appointment here. If there are currently no appointment times available on our site, please keep checking back. Appointment times are added once the vaccine supply is confirmed each week. This assures there is enough vaccine for the number of appointments that are scheduled and prevents cancellations due to inadequate supply.

Even if there are currently no appointment times available on our vaccine registration site, please keep checking back. Appointment times are added once the vaccine supply is confirmed each week. This assures there is enough vaccine for the number of appointments that are scheduled and prevents cancellations due to inadequate supply.

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, they are not interchangeable. 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 21 days (Pfizer vaccine) or 28 days (Moderna vaccine) after the first dose. Those who receive the vaccine must return to the same location to receive the second dose unless NYSDOH approves an alternative due to extenuating circumstances.

The clinic at the Expo Center at the Fairgrounds is 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).

Please be prepared for your appointment with the following:

  1. Make an appointment HERE.
    If there are no times available, please check back. Appointment times are added once the vaccine supply is confirmed each week. This assures there is enough vaccine for the number of appointments scheduled and prevents cancellations due to inadequate supply.
  2. Complete the screening and consent form.
    Please print and complete the form available here. The link 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.

Vaccinated persons are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 90 days following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more. Learn more about

You do not have to make an appointment for your second dose, your second dose appointment is automatically scheduled when you get your first dose.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines both require a second dose. The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose.

Your second dose must be the same vaccine as your first dose, they are not interchangeable. The second dose must be administered 21 days (Pfizer vaccine) or 28 days (Moderna vaccine) after the first dose. Those who receive the vaccine must return to the same location to receive the second dose unless NYSDOH approves an alternative due to extenuating circumstances.

PLEASE NOTE: You must bring the vaccine card proving you received the first dose with you to your appointment.

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 now get tested for COVID-19. Call your primary care physician, search for a test site near you, or click here for information about asymptomatic testing at the Oncenter or community locations and symptomatic/exposure testing (including for K-12 schools) at the CNY Regional Market F-shed.

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 (i.e. within six feet) or proximate contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19; or
  • An individual is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine; or
  • An individual is employed as a health care worker, first responder, or other essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working.
  • All unvaccinated domestic travelers who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York.
  • Individuals who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York from international travel regardless of vaccination status.

Contact the provider where the test was given. If your test is positive, you will be contacted by a Contact Tracer.

If your test is positive, you will receive a text message from the Onondaga County Health Department. You will then be contacted by a Contact Tracer who will interview you to gather information including symptom history, source of illness, list of close contacts, and activity history while infectious. The case investigator will provide you with instructions for isolation and help you get any services you may need while in isolation. You will receive an official isolation order. That order indicates the date of release, which serves as the official paperwork for return to work or school.

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

Based on our knowledge of how the body reacts to an infection, we presume that the presence of antibodies could mean that you have some level of immunity to a virus. However, at this time, it is unclear whether the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) IgG antibodies will result in immunity to prevent future COVID-19 infections. We will better understand immunity to SARS-CoV-2 as we study what happens to people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies and are again exposed to SARS-CoV-2, to determine if any of them are confirmed to have new infections.

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

Questions About SCHOOLS

Questions About ISOLATION and QUARANTINE

Isolation
If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be placed under an order of mandatory isolation. You should stay home and avoid contact with others at all times, including members of your own household. You must remain in isolation for at least 10 days and have a temperature of under 100 degrees for three days in a row before being released from isolation. The isolation period is typically 10 days from symptom onset (or from the date of the positive test if you are asymptomatic).

Quarantine
OCHD conducts an investigation of each individual with a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and identifies others who may have been exposed to them. If you are identified as a contact, a Contact Tracer will contact you and you will be placed under an order of mandatory quarantine. Your quarantine can end after ten days without testing as long as you have remained symptom-free, however, you must continue monitoring yourself for symptoms through day 14. If you do develop any symptoms, you must immediately self-isolate and contact the Health Department at 315.435.3236.

Quarantine for individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end after ten days without a testing requirement if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. Individuals must continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14 and if any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the Health Department at 315.435.3236.

Asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination if the following criteria are met:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND
  • Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure.

If you have the ability to access text messaging, you will be signed up for an automated symptom monitoring system through New York State. If you have questions or concerns regarding your symptoms please call your primary care provider.

OCHD conducts an investigation of each individual with a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and identifies others who may have been exposed to them. If you are identified as a contact, a NYS Contact Tracer will contact you and you will be placed under an order of mandatory quarantine by the Onondaga County Health Department’s Commissioner’s Order of Quarantine.

Quarantine for individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end after ten days without a testing requirement if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. Individuals must continue daily symptom monitoring through day 14 and if any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the Health Department at 315.435.3236.

Vaccinated Persons
Asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination if the following criteria are met:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND
  • Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure.

A copy of the emergency order to quarantine for individuals waiting for test results can be found here.

An investigator from OCHD will describe services available during the monitoring process. When possible, find a friend or family member to make a contact-free delivery of necessities to your home. The Nutrition Assistance Hotline is a resource available and can be reached at 315.218.1987.

In some situations, a COVID-positive individual in mandatory isolation will be released before some of their contacts in quarantine. COVID cases are required to remain isolated for a minimum of 10 days from the date their symptoms started (or from the date of a positive test if asymptomatic). Those identified as close contacts must quarantine for 10 days from the date of exposure to the COVID case, which could vary from contact to contact based on their last date of exposure.

You should consult with your employer regarding your role at your place of employment. In some situations, an individual in quarantine and not experiencing symptoms may report to work as long as they quarantine themselves at home when not working, and follow infection control procedures of your workplace. For more information, visit return to work for essential personnel.

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

You must remain in quarantine for the full duration listed on your initial quarantine order in case symptoms develop. In New York State, mandatory quarantine is 10 days. Testing is not a substitute for quarantine because the test only measures whether you are currently infected with the virus, and it can take time for an infection to develop after being exposed. For example, someone can be exposed on a Monday, test negative on Thursday, develop a clinical infection on Saturday, and then test positive on Sunday. For this reason, quarantine needs to last for 10 days even if you have a negative test result after being exposed.

Vaccinated Persons
Vaccinated persons are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 90 days following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

OCHD is not issuing orders of mandatory quarantine for individuals not being tracked by our investigators. If your primary care provider placed you into quarantine, they are responsible for providing the excuse to be out of work.

The original quarantine order lists the dates of your quarantine period. Please provide this to your employer as documentation to return to work.

New York State now allows travelers to New York to “test out” of the mandatory 10-day quarantine for asymptomatic individuals. For details please see details here.

Vaccinated Persons
Domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine or test out within 90 days of full vaccination if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 90 days following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

Questions About PREVENTION MEASURES

By Executive Order, adults and children over 2 years of age who are medically able to tolerate it must wear a mask or other face covering that covers their nose and mouth when in a public space where a 6-foot distance from others cannot be maintained (grocery stores, public transportation, for-hire transportation such as a taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.). Employees at any facility must wear a mask when interacting directly with the public.

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.

According to New York State Travel Guidelines, asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 10, 2021. Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing. Learn more here.

New York State guidance for religious and funeral services is available here.

Questions About BUSINESSES or FACILITIES

You can find current information on essential businesses here.

As we progress through the reopening process in Onondaga County, guidance is available for businesses here. If you have specific questions, email reopen@ongov.net or call 315.435.2210.

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

Questions About EVENTS or GATHERINGS

Notification is required only for events exceeding New York State's non-residential social gathering limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors. These are non-residential events (gatherings outside of a household) that involve the preparation and service of food and beverages for events such as wedding receptions, celebrations, meetings, conferences, and other similar private venue events. The Health Department must be notified at least 5 days in advance of the event.

Starting April 2, the limits on numbers of attendees (in all cases occupancy cannot exceed 75% of the facility capacity) are:
• Up to 100 people indoors or 200 outdoors without COVID-19 testing or
• Up to 150 people indoors or 500 outdoors with testing.

Please submit your notification using this online form.

We congratulate all the graduates and their families and wish everyone the best for safe, healthy, and happy graduation ceremonies. Decisions around hosting safe and socially distanced graduation ceremonies will remain at the discretion of local school boards and superintendents. Districts and schools can choose to honor graduating students in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of participants and complies with state and local social distancing orders and guidelines. The Onondaga County Health Department understands the importance of graduation ceremonies in the lives of our students and families and directs you to the New York State guidance for public and nonpublic schools to consider when navigating these concerns at the local level.

Questions From HEALTHCARE WORKERS

Questions About Reporting COMPLAINTS

If you feel someone is not following social distancing guidelines, please feel empowered to call 911 to report this complaint.

You can find current information on essential businesses here. To file a complaint through the Attorney General Labor Bureau, visit this page to view a list of topics, or contact 212.416.8700. To report a local business not following guidelines, you may report a complaint using the Onondaga County COVID-19 'New York on PAUSE' Enforcement Task Force Violation Complaint Form.