Frequently Asked Questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine answered by the Franklin County Department of HealthThe following frequently asked questions were created by Franklin County Public Health in a series of press releases on December 9th, 2020 , December 15th, 2020, December 30th, 2020, January 5th, 2021, January 13th, 2021, January 29th, 2021, and February 16th, 2021.
What vaccines have been approved?
Currently, three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the FDA and New York State's independent Clinical Advisory Task Force. They are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson.
Where will the vaccine be distributed?
Vaccine will be distributed to area hospitals, pharmacies, provider offices, and to Franklin County Public Health.
Who is eligible to be vaccinated now?
New York State’s vaccination plan includes a phased roll-out of vaccine. New Yorkers who are eligible to receive the vaccine as of March 23rd, 2021, include the following:
- Individuals Age 50 and older who reside in New York
- First Responder or Support Staff for First Responder Agency
- State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
- Local Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
- Police and Investigations
- 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 Investigations, including DMV, SCOC, Justice Center, DFS, IG, Tax, OCFS, SLA
- Public Safety Communications
- Emergency Communication and PSAP Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
- Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel
- Court Officer
- Other Police or Peace Officer
- Support or Civilian Staff for Any of the Above Services, Agencies, or Facilities
- State DOCCS 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
- P-12 Schools
- P-12 school (public or non-public) or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and support staff including bus drivers)
- Contractor working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
- Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group childcare
- In-person college faculty and instructors
- Employees or Support Staff of licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Setting
- Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Provider
- Public Transit
- Airline and airport employee
- Passenger railroad employee
- Subway and mass transit employee (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
- Ferry employee
- Port Authority employee
- Public bus employee
- Public facing grocery store workers, including convenience stores, bodegas, regional food banks, food pantries and permitted home-delivered meal programs
- Individual living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of your 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 position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents
- High-risk hospital and FQHC staff, including OMH psychiatric centers
- Health care or other high-risk essential staff who come into contact with residents/patients working in LTCFs and long-term, congregate settings overseen by OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, OTDA and OASAS, and residents in congregate living situations, overseen or funded by the OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, OTDA and OASAS
- Certified NYS EMS provider, including but not limited to Certified First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Technician – Critical Care, Paramedic, Ambulance Emergency Vehicle Operator, or Non-Certified Ambulance Assistant
- County Coroner or Medical Examiner, or employer or contractor thereof who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids
- Licensed funeral director, or owner, operator, employee, or contractor of a funeral firm licensed and registered in New York State, who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids
- Staff of urgent care provider
- Staff who administer COVID-19 vaccine
- All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care, or other staff in a position in which they have 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
- Home care workers and aides, hospice workers, personal care aides, and consumer-directed personal care workers
- Staff and residents of nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and adult care facilities
- Restaurant employees, including workers in permitted soup kitchen and congregate meal programs
- Restaurant delivery workers
- Public facing hotel workers
- For-hire vehicle drivers, including taxi, livery, black car, and transportation network company drivers
- Public-facing government and public employees
- Not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need
- Essential in-person public-facing building service workers
List of Comorbidities and Underlying Conditions:
New Yorkers age 18 and older with the following conditions qualify for the vaccine:
- Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
- Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer's Disease or dementia
- Liver disease
The list is subject to change as additional scientific evidence is published and as New York State obtains and analyzes additional state-specific data.
Individuals who have one of these conditions will need to verify their eligibility by signing a personal attestation at https://www.franklincountyny.gov/Document_Center/Human%20Service/COVID-19/Eligibility_Attestation.pdf .Completing the attestation form is sufficient documentation in confirming eligibility. A doctor’s letter is not necessary. However, if individuals have questions about whether their diagnosis or medical condition qualifies as a co-morbid condition, they should contact their primary care provider to discuss this. Attestations will be available to sign at the vaccination site if not completed beforehand.
Vaccine and registration information can be found at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.
People can also call the state COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
Once an appointment is successfully scheduled, people will receive a confirmation email that contains a barcode. This is confirmation of your appointment. Once an appointment is confirmed, people must also complete the state COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form should be filled out online and brought to the appointment.
Individuals must bring proof of eligibility to the appointment. Depending on the eligibility category, proof can include an attestation, employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, a pay stub, a driver’s license, passport, or any legal proof of your date of birth and residency. At the time of the appointment, people will be asked a series of clinical questions to ensure readiness for a vaccine.
How do I sign up for vaccination?
As vaccine becomes available, appointments open up at sites that have received the vaccine.
To see the appointments currently available in our area, refer to the COVID Vaccination Clinics section on our COVID-19 Guidance page at https://www.franklincountyny.gov/residents/covid-19_guidance/index.php.
I've been to the Eligibility tool and there are no appointments left at the sites I was directed to. What should I do?
This is expected as vaccine is limited at this time. Check back on a daily basis to see if there are new sites recommended and more appointments available.
I'm directed to sites that are many miles away. Do I have to travel to distant sites?
It’s up to you. The Eligibility tool shows where vaccine is currently available within a 100 mile radius of your address. If there are no vaccination sites listed near you, you can choose to either go to a distant site for vaccination or wait for vaccine to be available closer to home. Keep in mind that 2 doses of the vaccine are needed about four weeks apart, so you would go to the same vaccination site twice.
Is it true that those 65 or older can be vaccinated at their local pharmacy?
Yes, depending on availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. New York State has mandated pharmacies to vaccinate ONLY those 65 and older. Go to Kinneydrugs.com for COVID-19 vaccination information. You can sign up for email and texts to alert you when appointments become available. Kinney Drug asks that you please get information from their web site, rather than call, and to please be patient as vaccination is expected to take several weeks.
I am a senior, and I need transportation assistance to my COVID-19 vaccine site. What are my options?
Below are three options available for those seniors needing transportation assistance to their vaccination appointments:
Franklin County Public Transportation is available for seniors on the Demand Runs within Malone, Tupper Lake, and Saranac Lake. The hours of operation of these service are as follows:
Malone: 8:00am to 4:00pm (Monday- Friday)
Tupper Lake: 7:00am to 3:00pm (Monday- Friday)
Saranac Lake: 8:00am to 2:00pm (Monday –Friday)
This service can be used for transportation to and from pre-arranged COVID-19 vaccine appointments within those towns. There will be no fee charged for transportation services used to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Public Transportation requires a 24-hour notice to arrange transportation. Seniors can schedule these on demand appointments by calling 518-483-9000 (during business hours of 8:00am to 4:00pm).
Seniors who have Medicaid can schedule transportation to a vaccine appointment by calling Franklin County Medicaid Transportation at 1-888-262-3975.
Seniors who do not have Medicaid OR friends, neighbors, or family members to drive them to their vaccination appointments, please contact the Franklin County Office for the Aging at 518-481-1526 for assistance.
No matter what option one chooses, please be sure to wear a face mask/covering at all times while in the vehicle/bus.
How many doses will I need?
Pfizer and Moderna require two doses of their vaccine. Johnson and Johnson requires one dose.
How much will it cost for me to be vaccinated?
The vaccines will be available at no cost. An administration fee may be billed to your insurance company.
How do the vaccines work?
Pfizer and Moderna use a new messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid) technology in their vaccines. Both vaccines use a strip of genetic material to instruct cells to build the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus which teaches the immune system to recognize the real coronavirus.
Johnson and Johnson is an adenovirus vector vaccine. It employs a harmless cold virus to deliver a gene that carries the blueprint for the spiky protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. This primes the immune system to respond to future infections with Sars-Cov-2.
How do I find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and safety?
Some helpful links are:
COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility app - https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
Phases of Distribution - https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine
FAQs regarding the COVID-19 vaccine - https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/frequently-asked-questions-0
What should I do while waiting to get vaccinated?
While waiting to get vaccinated and until the population is fully vaccinated, it is strongly recommended that county residents continue to follow all of the safety measures that have been in place since March - wear face coverings, distance by 6 feet or more, wash hands often, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. During the colder months, limiting indoor socializing with people from other households is very important. Gather outside, in groups of 10 or less, whenever possible or make use of virtual meeting platforms to visit with friends and non-household family members as safely as possible. If you must socialize indoors with people from other households, wearing a face covering and distancing by at least 6 feet is now strongly recommended.