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Frequently Asked Questions

UR Medicine Vaccine Distribution FAQs

Check the NYS Am I Eligible website for information about eligibility.

You can try to book an appointment at a NYS vaccine site by calling the COVID–19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829) or going to the Am I Eligible website. 

You can also visit the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub website to find additional vaccine providers by county with links to appointment scheduling sites. Each site manages its own schedules and appointments. You will receive instructions on where to go for your vaccine when your appointment is scheduled.

There are three ways to schedule a vaccine appointment with us:

Yes, we currently have two locations: Saunders Building Vaccination Center on the URMC campus and Manhattan Square Vaccination Center in the city of Rochester. Eligible UR Medicine Primary Care patients who have an appointment with UR Medicine will be directed to go to one of these locations.

We are continuing to call our eligible Primary Care patients as vaccine becomes available. But, since we don’t know how much supply we will get each week, we encourage you to look for appointments at other vaccine clinics run by the state or offered by local pharmacies. Visit the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub website or the NYS Am I Eligible website.

Generally, we are calling our Primary Care patients between 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Caller ID will show University of Rochester or (585) 340-3779. Unfortunately we are unable to leave voice mails or accept incoming calls.

Unfortunately, to make sure we fill up all slots as quickly as we can, we are unable to leave messages or receive call backs.  Your name will be marked as uncalled, and put back in the pool from which names are randomly selected.

We are using the communications preferences identified by patients in eRecord to contact them. Text and MyChart are typically identified as the preferred mode for communication for this community. The communication mode selected by any of our patients in no way reduces their opportunity to be contacted for a vaccine appointment.

You must bring a photo ID to your appointment to get your vaccination. If you meet the eligibility requirements for a chronic medical condition, a doctor’s note is not needed; you will fill out an eligibility form when you register online. More information for those with an appointment.

Getting the COVID Vaccine: When, How and More

  • If you receive one of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) the answer is yes to both. Two shots are needed to ensure the best immune system response. The first shot likely offers some level of protection, but research shows immunity seems to develop significantly after the second dose. You’ll be scheduled to receive your second dose 21 to 28 days after your first. You will be asked to schedule your second dose appointment when you are called for your first dose appointment.
  • If you receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will only need one shot. Learn more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Due to the limited supplies and logistics in vaccine handling, at this time you will not have a choice regarding which vaccine you receive. All of the vaccines currently approved by the FDA for emergency use have been shown to be safe and effective. Our experts urge you to get any vaccine that is available to you; that is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and our community.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides near complete protection from serious illness and death from the virus. While the vaccine works differently than the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, it provides the same level of protection from serious disease. The most important thing everyone can do right now is get vaccinated when they become eligible; the type of vaccine you receive is less important.

CDC and FDA statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J, also known as Janssen) COVID vaccine.
The government has confirmed that individuals should not be charged any fees for receiving a vaccine. We will, however, bill your insurance, so please bring your insurance card and a photo ID when you receive the vaccine.

At the time we make your appointment, we will offer a vaccine appointment to any member of your household who also meets NYS eligibility requirements. They do not need to be a UR Medicine patient to receive the vaccine at one of the centers.

No, you are free to visit any other vaccine clinic run by federal, state or county governments, pharmacies and other providers. New York State has an online tool where you can search for available state-run clinics offering the vaccine in your area. If you choose to go to one of those clinics, please be sure and contact your primary care office to cancel your vaccine appointment so we can fill the available slot and ensure we are not wasting valuable vaccine.

In addition to protecting your own health, you’ll be protecting your loved ones and helping the community. If many people decline the coronavirus vaccine, the virus will still be able to spread widely. A large percentage of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and stop the pandemic. The alternative—widespread immunity developed because of widespread infection—means many deaths and a much longer-lasting pandemic.

Read about all the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine

Researchers still don't know how long immunity lasts after having COVID, and therefore, it is recommended that individuals get the coronavirus vaccine even if they have had COVID.

Yes, you should continue to wear a mask, wash your hands often and stay at least six feet away from others after you’ve been vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "There is not enough information currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision."

Coronavirus Vaccine Safety, Efficacy and Side Effects

The U.S. has a vaccine safety system in place to make sure that all approved vaccines are as safe as possible. This system includes clinical trials conducted according to the rigorous standards set forth by FDA; extensive, ongoing safety monitoring; and frequent oversight by safety review boards. Read more about how the CDC and FDA are ensuring the safety of coronavirus vaccines.

University of Rochester Medical Center scientists have been heavily involved in vaccine trials, so we have a good sense of how these vaccines were developed and how safe they are. While it’s true that they were developed much more quickly than past vaccines, they were still subject to large trials and strict review by independent scientists.

The process moved quickly in part because groundwork had already been done on vaccines for other, similar coronaviruses, meaning parts of the process that could otherwise have taken years were already completed. In addition, trials were combined and manufacturing began before the trials were done. “However, no steps were skipped and safety remained a top priority,” said Angela Branche, M.D., who co-directs URMC’s Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit where she has led research on many of the first coronavirus vaccines to be distributed. “More than 100,000 volunteers were injected with the vaccines to ensure they would not cause significant adverse effects.”

Read more about coronavirus vaccine safety and efficacy here.

 Getting a coronavirus vaccine will not give you COVID-19. None of the vaccines currently being developed, tested and distributed in the U.S. use the live virus that causes COVID-19; they use other methods to stimulate our bodies to recognize and fight the virus. Learn about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
Only non-pregnant adults participated in early clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines. But, trials are expanding to include other groups, such as children. Guidance for who should receive the vaccine will be updated as more information is available.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant: Pregnancy is a high-risk condition for severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization and death. Based on limited data and since the theoretical risk of fetal harm from mRNA vaccines (such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine) is very low, the benefits from vaccination greatly outweigh these risks in anyone exposed to COVID-19. Please discuss COVID vaccination with your OB provider if you have questions.  
  • If you are breastfeeding: Based upon the limited information that is available, physicians and researchers believe it will be safe for use during breastfeeding.​ Please discuss with you OB provider if you have questions.

Kate Ocon with Her DaughterCOVID Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know

When Kate Ocon found out she was pregnant in November 2020, she thought about the COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon — and she thought she wouldn’t get one. A lot has changed in the few months since then.

Read the full article in the URMC Newsroom.

Coronavirus vaccines should be safe for individuals with autoimmune disorders, but we don’t yet know how effective they will be.

Coronavirus vaccines are designed to teach our immune systems to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. This process can cause symptoms, such as fever, in some individuals. This is common and a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

No serious side effects requiring hospitalization have been reported in clinical trials. In addition to fever, some trial participants reported fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and chills, all lasting about 12 to 24 hours.

As with any vaccine, an allergic reaction is possible but rare. If you know you have severe allergic reactions, you should make sure you receive the coronavirus vaccine in a medical setting where these rare reactions can be effectively treated.

Scientists don’t know for sure, but believe it will last at least for many months. It is too soon to know whether the coronavirus vaccine will need to be an annual shot, like the flu vaccine, and, if it is, whether the same vaccine will work every year.

Yes, they appear to do so. Learn about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

It’s unclear at this time if coronavirus vaccines will be needed annually like the flu shot. Scientists at URMC and other institutions are studying the immune response to COVID-19 infection and vaccination; we will know more as they gather additional data. Read about URMC’s research on the immune response to coronavirus: Study 1 | Study 2