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Bronx Health REACH’s COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination Initiative aims to increase the number of people getting COVID-19 and flu vaccinations in the Bronx.
The decision to vaccinate or not, is a very personal one and for many people often connected to historic or personal discriminatory treatment. Over the past year, we have listened to hundreds of Bronx Imams, pastors, teachers, parents, salon and barbershop owners, and other community members who shared their concerns about COVID-19 and flu vaccines. With their guidance and the continued leadership of 10 Vaccine Community Advisory Board members, we built an outreach and educational plan to address Bronx residents’ most urgent vaccine concerns.
Over the past year, Bronx Health REACH has made it possible for thousands of community members to get vaccinated for both flu and COVID-19 through our community-based and health center events. More than 500 community organizations, church and mosque members, parents, school staff, shelter residents, and children received educational presentations and resources to share with their community members. Bronx Health REACH reached over 200 Bronx churches, mosques and schools with resources to help residents make an informed decision about flu and COVID-19 vaccines.
Through the leadership of 10 community partners, representing mosques, churches, cultural coalitions, community organizations and hair salons and ongoing community-based research made possible by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health and Hospital Corporation and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the National Institute for Health’s Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities, Bronx Health REACH is expanding the number of community members with access to education, resources and vaccination events in the Bronx.
Bronx residents can access vaccines at times and places most convenient for them in a number of ways: online or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC or make an appointment with the Institute for Family Health through mychart or by calling (917) 999-4904.
For more information about COVID-19 and flu illness and vaccines, visit NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or our flu and COVID-19 toolkit. You can also email us. To learn how to promote COVID-19 vaccines for men, visit I Got Vaccinated for My Mom Campaign.
While the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 illness have many similarities, they are caused by two different viruses. Both viruses can be life-threatening, but SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 illness, has proven to be highly infectious, spreads quickly, and lead to severe illness, hospitalization and even death. This virus can also have long-term effects on overall health. While the flu tends to have the most severe effects on children under five, people over 65 or those with chronic diseases, SARS-COV-2 is also causing young people who are unvaccinated to become severely ill with a double infection of flu and COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines teach your body to recognize and defend itself against the virus, SARS-COV-2. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) is the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19.) Watch the m-RNA and J&J vaccines videos to learn more.
There are four main ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines: salt, sugar, fatty-lipids (or a bubble of fat around the main ingredient) and the main ingredient (M-RNA or an inactive cold virus carrying the spike protein.) Don’t panic. Explanation of m-RNA and spike protein is below.* There are no blood products, antibiotics, DNA, Fetal cells, pork products, egg proteins, preservatives (e.g., thimerosal), or metals in the vaccines. (Ingredients in COVID-19 Vaccines.)
We don’t know how long someone is protected from COVID-19 after getting sick with the virus. Vaccines are the best source of protection from getting seriously ill or hospitalized for COVID-19. This is true for both those who have been sick with COVID-19 and those who haven’t. (Source).
None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. The vaccine teaches your body to fight off infection by telling the body it is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 illness. This may cause side effects such as tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea, and soreness, redness and swelling at the site of vaccination. These symptoms should go away in 1-2 days. If symptoms don’t go away after a few days, contact your doctor or the healthcare provider who gave you the shot. (Try to schedule your vaccination for a weekend or days when you are not working so if you have any short-term side affects you can be off from work if missing work is a concern.)
Please note: The COVID-19 vaccine takes two weeks to build resistance to COVID-19 illness in your body. This means that it is possible to be sick when going to get the vaccine or get sick within those two weeks of getting the vaccine. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who is sick, get a COVID-19 test before getting the vaccine.
A small number of people have had a severe reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine called anaphylaxis. All healthcare staff are prepared to treat this reaction immediately if it should happen. This is the reason everyone must wait 15-30 minutes after getting the vaccine–the healthcare staff are monitoring you for a reaction to the vaccine. If you have a severe reaction to the first dose, you should not get the second dose. Consult with your doctor if you are uncertain about getting the second dose.
Overall, the vaccines are safe for people with underlying medical conditions and even people with insect or food allergies. Let the person giving you the vaccine know if you have one of these conditions before receiving the vaccine. (Learn about other rare reactions: myocarditis and pericarditis and Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome.) (Post-vaccination information).
Reports of cases of myocarditis (swelling of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (swelling of the outer lining of the heart) after Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations are very rare and have only affected men under 30 years old. Myocarditis and Pericarditis can be mild and treatable. Four out of 5 who developed the heart conditions after getting vaccinated made a full recovery.
Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, which causes blood clots, is also a rare reaction to Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. Only 1 in 7 million women under the age of 50 have experienced it. Blood clots are common in people who have COVID-19 illness.
Learn about other rare reactions.
We know the vaccine is safe based on thirty years of research, the information gained from studies of 55,000 adults, 2,260 12-15 year olds and now 3,100 5-11 year olds in the US. The larger study of adults proved the vaccine can prevent COVID-19. The studies of children determined what is the lowest dose possible a child can get that will both protect them from COVID-19 while having the least side effects.
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. All the ingredients can be found by clicking here (Ingredients in COVID-19 Vaccines.)
The ingredients in a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination. All COVID-19 vaccines are free of metals. (Ingredients in COVID-19 Vaccines.)
COVID-19 vaccines don’t change or even send instructions to our DNA. Both mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) and viral vector (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines give instructions (genetic material) to our body to teach it how to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19. The message (genetic material) is in contact with the surface of the cell, not the center (where our DNA lives.)
A study by National Institute of Health discovered a small, temporary increase in menstrual cycle length following two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. This study provides positive evidence that COVID-19 vaccines do not stop or interrupt menstrual cycles. The vaccines may temporarily increase cycle length by two days.
There is no scientific proof that COVID-19 vaccines effects male or female fertility and the ability to have children. Also, a study published in JAMA of urology research found no change in sperm counts in healthy young men receiving the vaccine. Read more about COVID-19 vaccine and fertility myths.
The vaccine can protect not only you but also your baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Research has shown that the mother transfers COVID-19 antibodies to the baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding which will protect a newborn child from illness. Also, tens of thousands of women have safely received the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you are already pregnant and have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccination, call MotherToBaby (866) 626-6847, or text to (855)999-8525. (Click here for more information).
COVID-19 vaccines protect you from severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19, it doesn’t mean you can’t get COVID-19 illness, have no symptoms and give it to someone else. Wearing a mask when in public protects those around you who aren’t vaccinated from getting COVID-19. View a press release from Mayor Adams for details about the changes to mask and vaccine requirements in indoor public places. Regardless of these changes in NYC, CDC advises everyone to consider when deciding whether to wear a mask the following points: are there any health risks to you or your family members, whether you are up to date in your COVID-19 vaccinations and any children who are too young for vaccination
What we already knew about other coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 gave us a head start. COVID-19 vaccines were developed based on decades of existing research about other coronaviruses. Researchers, the federal government, and drug companies came together like never before to focus, cooperate, and share resources to create a COVID-19 vaccine. This kind of large-scale effort has helped make completing the different phases of testing more efficient. Usually, the process to recruit people for studies is very slow. Under Emergency Use Authorization, a rule that allows clinical trials, there was some overlap between phases of the study so that thousands of people were tested to study the effectiveness of the vaccine on a larger scale more quickly using a process called Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) available during public health emergencies. (Source: Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained)
The FDA-authorized process, called Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize the use of unapproved medical products like vaccines, to diagnose, treat or prevent life-threatening conditions when there are no adequate, approved and available options. Scientists follow people for at least 2 months after they are given the vaccine to observe its safety and efficacy. For FDA-approved vaccines, scientists follow people for at least six months to observe safety and efficacy. As it has been more than six months since Pfizer was authorized for public use, Pfizer applied and was approved to provide the Pfizer COVID-19 to people 16 years older as an approved FDA vaccine. (Learn more about EUA here.) (Source: Association of Immunization Managers)
The body’s immunity to the vaccine decreases over time, leaving a person vulnerable to highly infectious variants of the virus. Research has shown that the booster shots are the best way to stay protected against COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death. Currently, boosters are available for ages 12 and older.
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine is free to all. You may be asked if you have health insurance, but it is unnecessary to have health insurance to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can use your Driver’s license or non-driver ID, IDNYC, State or government-issued birth certificate. current U.S. or valid foreign passport, IDNYC, State or government-issued birth certificate, permanent resident card, Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship, life insurance policy with birthdate, marriage certificate with birthdate and for people younger than 18, a parent or guardian must accompany them to the vaccination site to attest to their age. Proof of immigration status or a social security number isn’t needed to get vaccinated. ID is only required for proof of age. Click for more information.
Get tested if you meet one or all of the following categories:
• If you have COVID-19 symptoms
• At least 5 days after known or suspected close contact to COVID-19
• For screening (schools, workplaces, congregate settings, etc.)
• Before and after travel
• When asked by a healthcare professional or public health official
• Isolate for at least 5 days. Learn more about isolation timelines and precautions
• If you used a rapid test, follow-up with a PCR laboratory test if recommended by healthcare professional
• Monitor your symptoms
• If up to date on vaccines: return to normal activities. Wear a mask indoors in areas of high or substantial community transmission.
• If not up to date on vaccines and have symptoms or exposure: quarantine for at least 5 days.
• If not up to date on vaccines and have no symptoms or exposure: return to normal activities. Take steps to get up to date on vaccines to protect yourself and others.
Neither the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) nor the CDC will have access to or release identifiable patient information. No immigration enforcement can occur at vaccination sites. Also, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 won’t affect current or future immigration status or ability to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. (For more information: Frequently Asked Questions of Immigrants)
Take a photo for your records or use New York State Department of Health’s Excelsior Passport System to have your COVID-19 vaccine and negative testing records on your phone. If you lost the card and don’t have a copy, contact the healthcare provider where you received your COVID-19 vaccine and ask for a new card or contact NYS Department of Health Immunization Information System.
Between us about Us Video Series (English/Spanish)
Myths & Facts about COVID-19
Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
Vaccinate Your Family
Ask the Experts
COVID-19 Resource Page of CDC Foundation
Our COVID-19 Resource Page