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From the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

The COVID-19 Vaccine is an important, safe and effective tool in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.  COVID-19 is very serious and can cause severe medical complications that can lead to death in some people. 

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by getting the vaccine as soon as possible and taking other precautions, including practicing social distancing, continuing to wear a mask and washing your hands often and thoroughly.  The NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is dedicated to ensuring that all employees are informed on vaccine administration. 
The attached Q&A document contains answers to commonly asked questions about the vaccine, with many of these questions coming from Direct Support Professionals (i.e. Essential Workers).

Q:  How was this vaccine developed so quickly when others have taken years before they’ve become available?

A:  Existing technology for creating vaccines is over three decades old and is well tested.   The speed of it is a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances that have been made in technologies for the vaccines.  It was not at the expense of safety.  In addition, a vast amount of resources and money were put into the development and production of the vaccine so that it would be ready to give to people as soon ad the vaccine was shown to be safe and effective.   

Q:  What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

A:   An EUA is allowed in instances where a public health threat is identified and there is no approved or adequate existing products (or vaccines).  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorized emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. 

Q:  Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

A:  No.  The vaccines being used in the United States do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.  This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with the disease.

Q:  Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?

A:  Yes.  The COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.  Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects or even die.  There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you,

Q:  I had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

A:  Yes.  Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had the COVID-19 infection.  If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.  If you are unsure of the type of treatment you received, you can talk with your physician.

Q:  What are the possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?

A:  Some people may experience very mild side effects for a day or two after the vaccine.  This does not mean you are sick.  This is a good sign, because it means that your immune system is being activated to build up protections against the virus. . Side effects can include the following:

  • Pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given.
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain
  • Chills
  • Joint Pain

Q:  Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of severe allergic reactions?

A:  If you have common allergies (e.g., cats/dogs, hay fever, dust or pollen), you should have no difficulties taking the vaccine,  If you have had a serious reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Q:  Will the COVID-19 vaccine be an annual requirement? 

A:  We receive the Flu vaccine every year because the Flu virus changes quickly and rapidly.  It is not in its nature for the Coronavirus to change as quickly. However, we can get new strains.  The current vaccines are thought to be effective on the new strains currently seen out in the community.  It is currently too early to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine will be an annual requirement. 

For more information from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, visit there website: