Do you have questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine?

Below, you’ll find answers to some frequently asked questions about the vaccine and COVID-19. If you do not find the information you need here, please call the Montefiore-Einstein COVID-19 Hotline at 1‑844‑444‑CV19 (844‑444‑2819).

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COVID-19 Vaccine and Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

Montefiore has received both the Pfizer/BioNTech (Pfizer) vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines come as a two-dose series. The vaccine you receive for your second dose will be the same as you received for your first.

Please see below for more information from the CDC on each vaccine:

Employee vaccinations at Montefiore began on December 15, 2020.

Following guidelines from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Montefiore-Einstein is happy to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals. To see if you are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please consult the NYSDOH for their eligibility requirements here.

There are two ways you can make a first dose appointment to get vaccinated:

  1. Schedule an Appointment Online. If you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, you can schedule your COVID-19 vaccination online.
     
  2. Schedule an Appointment by Phone. If you need assistance, please call our hotline at 1-844-444-CV19 (1-844-444-2819)  and select option 1 to schedule your vaccination.

Your second dose appointment will be scheduled when you come in for your first dose appointment.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently in development and the vaccines available now are designed to generate an immune response to a particular part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is essential to allowing the virus to enter a human cell and cause disease: the spike protein. This is a protein that sticks out from the surface of the virus and is required for the virus to stick to and enter a human cell. This protein binds to a receptor on human cells that then enables it to enter them and replicate itself. If the virus is prevented from entering the cell, it cannot produce disease or become infectious. The immune response the vaccine produces elicits the production of antibodies specifically directed against the spike protein that prevents that protein from binding to its receptor on human cells.

No. Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine contains any SARS-CoV-2 virus. What they do contain is that small part of the virus’s genetic code, or mRNA, that instructs a cell how to produce the spike protein. The vaccine is designed so that the mRNA from the vaccine enters muscle cells with the instructions for the muscle cells to produce the spike protein. These spike proteins then come out of the muscle cell and stimulate the immune system to generate a broad response to the protein. Since the vaccine trains your immune system to recognize the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, if you become exposed to SARS-CoV-2 after vaccination, you should be protected against infection. Data from the vaccine trials indicate that it is very effective, particularly in protecting against severe infection.

Available data suggest that mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are safe. The FDA approved both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for emergency use after reviewing all of the data from the vaccine clinical trials. In New York State, an added level of review was established to ensure COVID vaccine safety. Following FDA approval, experts on New York State's independent COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Advisory Task Force thoroughly review vaccine research before recommending any vaccine to New Yorkers. As of December 18, 2020, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were also approved by New York State's independent COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Advisory Task Force.

There have been no serious long-term side effects reported to date in the more than 30,000 vaccinations administered at Montefiore. Because the purpose of the vaccine is to elicit an immune response, some people do have some mild side effects from the vaccine. The most common symptoms include:

  • Injection site pain 
  • Fatigue 
  • Flushing 
  • Muscle aches and headache. 
  • Sweating/tingling of the hands or arms. 
  • Some people may experience a fever for a day

Side effects are relatively uncommon; however, we observe everyone after they receive the vaccine. Should a person experience any side effects, we will continue to observe as needed.

Several hours into the next day or so after the vaccine, you may have mild symptoms like muscle aches and low-grade fever. This is your immune system reacting appropriately to the vaccine, and your symptoms should pass within a day or so. If you have continued symptoms after that, you should call your doctor to discuss. These side effects may be more commonly seen after the second dose or in patients who previously had COVID-19.

There are no eggs or egg products in the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, so an egg allergy does not prevent you from receiving this vaccine. People who are allergic to polyethylene glycol, which is the principal ingredient of MiraLAX® and Golytely®, or polysorbate, should consult their physician prior to taking the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain latex or preservatives.

No. Vaccination is only one step in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. It will likely take many months until all our hospital employees and patients are vaccinated, and many more months after that until SARS-CoV-2 stops circulating in the community. Therefore, it is essential that you continue to wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently to reduce infection transmission. Vaccination and immunization of our community is a very important requirement that will lead to the eventual relaxation of mask use and social distancing measures.

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines have been reported to be more than 94 percent effective at preventing illness—this means that there is still a small chance that you can become sick with COVID-19 even after your vaccination. However, accumulating data suggests that people who become ill with COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine are much less likely to have severe disease.

It is currently unknown how long the protection from the vaccine will last. It is possible that additional boosters may be needed in the future.

If you are sick with COVID-19, you need to wait until you have recovered from the COVID-19 infection before receiving the vaccine. You should not get the vaccine if you:

  • Are currently feeling sick
  • Have had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 10 days
  • Have been instructed by the New York State Department of Health to quarantine

There are indeed cases of reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 being reported around the globe. Therefore, you can and should receive a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine even if you previously had COVID-19 and have tested positive for antibodies. However, it is recommended that you wait until you have completely recovered from the illness and if you were COVID positive but asymptomatic, that you wait until your quarantine period (10 days) has been completed.

In addition, if you received a monoclonal antibody infusion, it’s recommended that you wait 90 days prior to receiving the vaccine. During this period, you still need to follow maximum public health precautions to protect yourself from illness.

Completion of both doses as scheduled is recommended for maximal protection against COVID-19.

Pregnant women are at risk for severe illness with COVID-19, and a vaccine may protect you from severe illness, helping both you and your fetus. Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are not likely to pose a risk for pregnant women, and the CDC recommends that the COVID-19 vaccines be made available to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Since vaccine trials have not really included pregnant women, it’s best to discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with your obstetrician.

Immunocompromised individuals are eligible to receive the vaccine, and although we do not yet have enough data, it may be that they will have a reduced immune response to vaccination. We encourage those who have immune-related illnesses like cancer and who are on drugs like chemotherapy to consult their physician as part of making a decision as to when to most safely receive the vaccine.

Vaccination is only one step in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. It will likely take quite some time until the virus stops circulating in the community. Therefore, activities like traveling to visit friends and family may still be risky for at least several months after vaccines become widely available. If you decide to engage in these activities, continue masking and practicing strict hand hygiene and social distancing until public health authorities indicate that it is appropriate to stop.

Data from large vaccine trials suggest that the vaccines that are currently available to Montefiore associates and patients are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in vaccinated individuals. While the vaccines have been shown to prevent disease, evidence is still being collected regarding the prevention of transmission. The vaccine, combined with infection prevention measures such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene, will significantly reduce your personal risk of infection (and risk to your household contacts). It is still possible, however, for infections to spread within the community, especially when individuals are together indoors without social distancing and masking. For some time to come, even for those vaccinated, masking, social distancing and good hand hygiene should remain part of our daily routine.

No. The vaccine does not contain any DNA (the material that makes up our genetic code). It has only a small piece of RNA that instructs the muscle cell to temporarily make spike protein. That RNA does not get incorporated into our DNA, nor does it get transformed into DNA.

No. There are no effects on fertility.

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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Our hospitals, emergency departments and ambulatory sites are open to serve the community.

All our facilities are clean, safe and ready for you to get the care you need. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor’s office. If you need help finding a doctor, call 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683).

You can also schedule or request appointments with your doctors via MyChart. Click here to login.

Our doctors are also offering virtual visits via either phone or video, what is known as telehealth. Learn more about doctor video visits by clicking here.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is highly contagious and can spread from person to person. It is caused by the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, which is a “novel” virus, meaning it has never been seen in humans before this outbreak. It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The virus can spread from person to person, which means you can contract the virus if you come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You may also be at risk if you live or come into close contact with someone known to have traveled to areas of ongoing spread, including international locations (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran) or places here in the U.S. such as Washington, New York City and San Francisco.

The virus is thought to spread by people in close contact (approximately within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible to contract the virus by touching an infected surface or item and then touching the nose, eyes or mouth. The virus may be able to live on a surface for a prolonged period of time.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Individuals experiencing these symptoms or combination of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the symptoms below: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat 
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea

This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Some patients develop pneumonia in both lungs, experience multi-organ failure and, in some cases, even die from other complications. Many of the individuals with the most severe complications have a compromised immune system from other underlying medical conditions or are considered part of a vulnerable population due to age.

Monoclonal antibodies are created in a lab and function like naturally occurring antibodies, fighting infections before they spread. Studies show that when monoclonal antibodies are given intravenously to high-risk people diagnosed early with COVID-19, it can prevent them from experiencing severe symptoms that lead to hospitalizations.

The monoclonal antibody treatment is given using IV therapy, administered through a vein in the arm, for about an hour. Patients are evaluated by a nurse practitioner and then monitored for any allergic reactions, which are extremely rare. The appointment takes about three hours to complete; afterward patients receive a follow-up phone visit. A few weeks later, a telehealth appointment is completed with an infectious disease doctor who reviews recovery and symptoms.
 

Talk to your doctor about whether this treatment is right for you.

To qualify, you must have tested positive COVID-19 recently; have mild to moderate symptoms that are managed without oxygen support; and fall into a high-risk category, such as one of those listed below. Monoclonal antibody treatment is not for patients who are hospitalized.

People who qualify for monoclonal antibodies have a high-risk of severe COVID-19, including people aged 65 or older, and illnesses like chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, obesity and COPD. People who are immunocompromised due to diseases such as cancer, lupus or sickle cell anemia, or organ transplant recipients, are also candidates for treatment. Pregnant women and high-risk patients under age 21 may also qualify.

  • Unless you are an essential worker, stay at home.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Impose social distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet, and avoid all physical contact with others when outside your home.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm or cool water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Hand sanitizer should be used only if you do not have access to soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and/or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Use a face covering, such as a scarf or bandana, if you need to go out for essentials. Do NOT use a professional surgical mask; these are in short supply and needed by our first responders and healthcare workers to protect themselves while in very close contact with infected people.

Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming into contact with healthy people in order to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. It can include large-scale measures like canceling group events or the closure of public spaces, as well as individual decisions such as avoiding crowds.

  • Stay at home when you’re sick and isolate yourself. If you live with others, try to stay in a separate room and wear a mask.
  • Always cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces you touch while you’re sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

If you have traveled or encountered someone who has traveled to an affected area, please limit your movements or interactions with others for the next two weeks. If you begin to develop severe symptoms during this timeframe (i.e., trouble breathing), please seek medical advice. Call your provider’s office and inform them regarding your symptoms and travel. They will let you know how to get care without exposing others to the virus.

If you are not sick, and you are not working in a healthcare setting, you should use a face covering, such as a scarf or bandana, if you need to go out for essentials, but not a surgical mask; these are in short supply and needed by our first responders and healthcare workers to protect themselves while in very close contact with infected people.

If you do have symptoms like coughing or sneezing, you should wear a mask to prevent spreading the illness to others.

If you are caring for a patient with COVID-19, you should wear a mask while in close contact with that person.

You may request a physician to place an order for a COVID-19 test and schedule testing through Montefiore MyChart. If you already have a Montefiore MyChart account, please click this link and then login to your Montefiore MyChart account. Otherwise, you can visit mychart.montefiore.org to create an account. Once logged in, look for the "COVID-19 Testing" box and click to learn more. If a doctor determines that a test for COVID-19 is needed, it will be sent to a laboratory that is able to perform testing for COVID-19.

Remember, a test is not a treatment or a cure. If you have symptoms, stay home and maintain your distance from others. Double-down on hand washing and cleaning surfaces you frequently touch.

Developed for screening of COVID-19 using precautionary measures to prevent community spread, mobile testing sites allow patients to be tested while remaining in their vehicles. These sites are available for testing by appointment only for patients with a positive screening and a high risk of severe disease.

  • Stay at home except to get urgent medical care. Avoid using public transportation to contain the spread of the virus.
  • Isolate yourself to a specific room in your home to protect your family members, and use a separate bathroom if possible.
  • You must call ahead before visiting your provider’s office or another healthcare facility like an urgent care office. They will inform you on how to get medical care while still ensuring the safety of other patients.
  • All patients may have one visitor at a time during the increased visitation hours of 2pm–6pm daily. The only visitors allowed during other times are those qualifying for exceptions: pediatrics, labor and delivery, palliative care, geriatrics, patients being discharged and those with cognitive or developmental impairments.
  • Visitors must be over 18 years of age. Patients may have two designated support persons who can alternate.
  • Visitors will be asked to speak to a unit staff member before entering a patient room and to follow all staff instructions.
  • Patients who are scheduled for ambulatory procedures may each have one support person assist them.
  • Visitors will be screened in the lobby for temperature, symptoms and exposure and asked to leave if they display symptoms.
  • Visitors must wear a face mask upon entry to the lobby and throughout their time in the hospital. If visiting a patient that is COVID+, the visitor must also wear a gown, gloves and eye protection while in the room with the patient.
  • Visitors must remain in the patient’s room.
  • Visitors must practice rigorous hand hygiene.
  • Visitors who do not adhere to the above guidelines will be asked to leave.

Our hospitals, emergency departments and ambulatory sites are open to serve the community.

All our facilities are clean, safe and ready for you to get the care you need. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor’s office. If you need help finding a doctor, call 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683).

You can also schedule or request appointments with your doctors via MyChart. Click here to login.

Our doctors are also offering virtual visits via either phone or video, what is known as telehealth. Learn more about doctor video visits by clicking here.

  • Wear a face mask whenever you’re around your family members. If you are unable to wear a face mask because it causes trouble breathing, ask your family members to wear face masks whenever they are around you.
  • Cover your coughs or sneezes and wash your hands with soap and water immediately. You should also sanitize any surfaces you may have touched with a disinfectant that contains 60–95% alcohol.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer only when soap and water are not available.
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces every day, including tables, countertops, doorknobs, bath fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.
  • Make sure to clean any surfaces that may come into contact with blood, stool or bodily fluids. These surfaces should be cleaned with household disinfectants. Make sure to follow labeled instructions on how to properly and safely use these products.

Seek medical attention if your condition is worsening (i.e., if you have difficulty breathing). Before seeking medical care, be sure to call your healthcare provider and tell them you are being evaluated for COVID-19. Make sure to wear a face mask before you enter the facility. Ask your healthcare provider to contact your local or state health department. People placed under active monitoring or self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by your local health department.

If you have a medical emergency, you must call 911 and inform the dispatcher that you are being evaluated for COVID-19.

If you have contracted COVID-19, you should remain under home isolation until the transmission to others is low. The decision to discontinue home isolation should be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with your healthcare provider. In general, you should remain at home until at least 7 days after your symptoms started, your symptoms are improving, and you have not had a fever for 3 days without using fever-reducing medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.).

Using MyChart, you can send your doctor/care team a secure message about your non-urgent questions, prescription renewals, upcoming appointments, and other issues. You can expect a response within two business days.

You can also call your doctor’s office or 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683) for any other questions or concerns.

Yes, you can request proxy access to your child’s MyChart remotely by logging in to your MyChart account, navigating to “Health” and then “Share My Record.” From there you can manage the information you can view under “Friends and Family Access.”

Using MyChart, patients can PreCheck-in for their appointments, up to 5 days in advance. You will be able to update insurance information, personal information (phone number, address etc.) as well as medical information (new allergies or medications) from your MyChart account. Here’s a tip: even if you do not have an upcoming appointment, you can update this information in MyChart proactively!

Don’t have an active MyChart account? Sign up for free here.

With an active MyChart account, COVID-19 test results are available online as soon as processing is completed. Click here to login.

If you do not have a MyChart account, please review the instructions provided to you on the day of your test or call your Montefiore primary care physician for your COVID-19 results.

If you need help finding a doctor, call 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683).

Trusted Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The leading national public health institute of the United States
 

NY.gov

For the latest COVID-19 guidelines and information from New York State 

World Health Organization

UN agency responsible for international public health