covid-19 vaccine update

The Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services has provided us with updated information  regarding registration and appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine. Here’s what we filtered through to give you the best information as of today. 

First, keep in mind that as the vaccine becomes more widely distributed and available, things will change. Physicians’ offices and pharmacies will eventually be offering the vaccine and you will be able to book vaccination appointments directly with them, via phone or their websites once that happens, bypassing the large hubs now set up to vaccinate. For now, there are two main portals through which to sign up for the vaccine: the NY State site (for access to the mass hubs) and Northwell Health’s site. 

Before you go to the NY State site, know that the site is only compatible with these browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Safari. You will not be able to make an appointment if you try to access the site via Internet Explorer (IE) or another browser or your cellphone provider. Also know there are NO walk-in appointments. You must make a vaccine reservation and fill in the required forms.

You will have to fill in the NY State Covid-19 vaccine form prior to your appointment: 

You can make a vaccine reservation at:

When you click through here, you will see the current locations where the vaccine is being administered such as the Westchester County Center, the Javits Center, along with other locations such as Jones Beach and SUNY Albany, among others. You will then be prompted to fill in information for yourself (or a loved one) that confirms your eligibility for the vaccine. There are a number of groups eligible, including people who are 65 or older. 

After you press “Submit,” you’ll be taken to the “Appointment Page” with a button that says “LOCATE PROVIDERS”. The next screen will show the list of locations. If appointments are available, you can click through on the “Schedule your vaccine appointment.” Check the line that says “status” under each location. It may say “No Appointments Available Currently,” in which case you will need to check back on the site at a later time.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is select-visit-time.pngIf you are able to make an appointment (see image here as it indicates that appointments are available), it’s important to provide a valid email address when filling in the online form. Through that email you will receive a confirmation of your reservation as well as any updates regarding your appointment.

Hooray! You’ve gotten an appointment. What do you need to bring:

  1. Your ID
  2. The NYS Covid-19 Form
  3. Your confirmation email

Expect to remain at the vaccination location for 15 minutes post-vaccination for monitoring or 30 minutes if you have a history of reactions to vaccines.

Your second dose appointment (for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, at three weeks and four weeks, respectively) will be set up when you receive your first dose. Upon your first vaccination, you will receive a vaccination card indicating which vaccine was administered to you. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are NOT interchangeable. It’s Pfizer for both doses or Moderna for both doses. If/when the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is approved and distributed, efficiencies will greatly improve as the J& J vaccine is only one dose.

Protection is not immediate. For the Pfizer vaccine, full immunization is one week following your second dose. If you take the second dose three weeks from the first one, then full immunity occurs four weeks from your first shot. Full immunization for Moderna occurs two weeks after the second vaccine. If you take the second vaccine four weeks after the first shot, then full immunization is six weeks from your first Moderna shot. So stay vigilant with all safety protocols including hand washing, sanitizing, the wearing of face masks.

The link to Northwell’s vaccination registration is They are vaccinating at Phelps Hospital, Northern Westchester Hospital and at Northwell Urgent Care on Quaker Ridge Road in New Rochelle. Their site will indicate if they are taking appointment reservations or still waiting for more doses. Keep in mind that the Northwell website and other independent sites are not visually the same as the NYS site, but don’t let that dissuade you.

For people who have had Covid-19, you cannot take the vaccine until 90 days from contracting the virus. 

Smaller distributers such as Wegman’s Pharmacy and Rite-Aid are offering the vaccine but slots have filled within a couple of hours, though you can continually look to their sites as they restock and offer appointments again:

Here are some important tips to help you and/or the less mobile senior you may be helping on vaccination day at the County Center:

 The waiting lines do/will wrap around the block.

 The hospital(s) provide wheelchairs.

 There is no parking in front of the County Center building.

 Escorts should come to the handicap accessible ramp,  ring the buzzer,  and collect a wheel chair to take patient into County Center.

 Escorts are expected to navigate the patient in wheel chair – following instructions given – for the duration of  appointment.

 There is no 1:1 County Center staff  available to facilitate transport into building and vaccine stations.

 Escorts will need to return the wheel-chair after the appointment.

According to data released by Governor Cuomo on January 19, 2021, NY State has receive 1,190,150 doses of Covid-19 vaccines.  919,870 of those doses have been administered.


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