SOMOS Vaccinations is a network of healthcare providers whose website provides one way to make vaccination appointments.
Somos Vaccinations is running a Bronx-resident-only site at Yankee Stadium. Somos Vaccinations is also a great place for New York City employees (including public schools employees) to sign up for an appointment.
This February 17 article from the New York Times gives a good overview of how to sign up for an appointment, and a lot of good advice, including this:
Appointments go fast[...]Sometimes new ones open up unexpectedly and then vanish within seconds — the time it takes to double-check whether a time or day would work. All you can do is keep trying.
You will probably end up visiting several websites and creating new accounts for each one. Be ready to keep careful track of user names and passwords. Don’t lose them.
In the official NYC Vaccine Finder you can put in your own zip code and see places to get vaccinated, with links to make an appointment.
There are also a few New York State-run sites in the city, including at the Javits Center in midtown and the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens.
If you live in Brooklyn or Queens, there are two special state-run sites about to open that will be able to vaccinate many people each day, at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens. More details on thosee Brooklyn and Queens sites here.
You can sign up for these New York State-run centers on their website or by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
TurboVax is a site that checks availability across multiple locations (includes , for convenience: It searches a lot of sites at once to see which ones have available appointments, so you don't have to check each site one by one. Their Frequently Asked Questions are here.
Update on April 14, 2021:
The news about vaccine distribution is changing quickly this spring.
For the very very latest news, here are some good places to look:
* date filter - in Google, click on "Tools" to make the "any time" dropdown menu appear, then you can choose whatever date range you like:
** for the NYT and the Wall Street Journal, you can sign up for a free digital subscription with your Hostos email address. The Atlantic seems to be making all of their coverage freely available.The Washington Post will cut you off after a few articles, but it's still worth reading.
As of Tuesday April 6, 2021, the following groups are eligible to sign up to get vaccinated in New York: (for the full list of specific jobs, see here.)
All New York residents ages 16 and older
When you sign up for an appointment, please read closely, as certain locations may still prioritize earlier categories of eligibility, which included:
Public-facing government and public employees
Not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need
Essential in-person public-facing building service workers (does not include workers at construction sites)
Food bank workers
Some home-delivered meal workers
Hotel workers who have direct contact with guests Health care workers
Residents and staff in some group-living facilities (for example nursing homes)
Grocery workers (including bodegas)
First responders and support staff for first responder agencies
Educators: pre-K-high school faculty and staff, in-person college instructors, some child care workers
Public transit workers
People living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with people who are not part of their household + people working with residents in such shelters
Taxi (TLC) licensed drivers
Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery workers
People having underlying medical conditions:
For the most recent updates on who is eligible, which will change over time as more people become eligible, please see the NYC government page on eligibility.
This video describes the approval process for vaccinations, how vaccinations work, and what it means to experience side effects after getting the shots.
As Dr. Paul Offit, a specialist in infectious diseases and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says in the video below: "You should be skeptical of anything you put in your body, including vaccines. But once you've seen the data, and you see that there wasn't a serious side effect before approval, and hasn't been a serious side effect post-approval, then I think you should be convinced."
Sam Sanders talks to Maddie Sofia, a science journalist with a PhD in microbiology, with questions about the vaccine. Plus some other brief conversations. Here are some key points of the podcast with their minute:second marks, if you want to scroll the timeline to them:
0:43 Sam talks to his Aunt Betty about her own experience getting vaccinated.
5:07 Sam asks Maddie Sofia what the deal is with double-masking
8:06 Can vaccinated people still carry and transmit the virus?
9:40 Can two vaccinated people hang out safely
12:00 How are the vaccines against the new variants?
13:14 What about side effects?
15:18 If my grandparent is vaccinated, but I'm not, is it safe to see them?
17:39 What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated for us to have "herd immunity"?
20:49 What will future springs and summers look like, or do scientists even know yet?
26:18 Sam talks to Bridie Wilton, a health journalist in New Zealand, about what life is like in that country, where they have managed to keep COVID numbers very low.
Updated March 8, 2021. What about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
The newly authorized one-shot vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson uses a different technique than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
See this article in Scientific American that explains some of the differences, as well as what "efficacy" and "effectiveness" mean.
Update March 19, 2021 What about the AstraZeneca vaccine?
The AstraZeneca vaccine works in a slightly different way. Here is an explainer with more detail about how this vaccine works.
It is not one of the vaccines that is now being offered in the United States.
When a few people developed serious and even deadly blood clots soon after taking the vaccine, several European countries stopped using this vaccine for a while. On March 18, the European Medicines Agency, Europe's largest drug regulator, said that a review of millions of cases could not prove an increased risk of blood clotting, but announced that they would add a warning to look out for the possibility of this rare complication. The World Health Organization stated on March 17 that it continued to see the benefits outweighing the risks.
People of color, and especially Black communities, have faced much racist maltreatment within the medical and medical research communities. They have good reason to be skeptical. What do scientists and health workers of color have to say about the vaccine?
As Dr. Hansel Tookes, who teaches at the medical school of the University of Miami, says, "It's absolutely reasonable to have hesitation about the vaccine because there have been injustices done to our communities since this country was founded" but also "this vaccine is how we end the racial disparities in COVID. If we vaccinate at the high rates that we should, we will start to diminish our rates of infection and our rates of death. "
Dr. Tookes was also interviewed on a local TV news show. He speaks about how racial inequalities have been seen in how badly COVID has hit Black and Latinx communities, and also about unequal barriers to signing up for the vaccine.
He understands the justifiable mistrust many people have of the medical system because of both past and present racial injustices, but tells his patients that letting that mistreatment make them avoid the vaccine now would only mean further harm to the community.
Dr. Eugenia South expanded on her original Twitter thread in this essay: I'm a Black doctor who didn't trust the Covid vaccine. Here's what changed my mind.
The Bronx Community College held a discussion on vaccine hesitancy in Black and Latinx communities. The distinguished panel included:
(each panelist had many more roles and credits beyond those listed above, which can be found in the slides).
The slides from the discussion are available to view here and include many valuable resources. Especially check out the links on pages 34-35 and the resources cited on pages 37-38).
City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Dr. Julian Watkins, Dr. Nichola Davis, and moderator Veronica Guity discussed the COVID-19 vaccine and the history of racial bias and experimentation in communities of color.
This short video above describes the discussion. For the full discussion, please see Council Member Gibson's Facebook page here.
For more on the reality of distrust of medical institutions because of awareness of racism--not just historical events, but also present-day injustices--you may want to see this letter from two scholars, "Tuskegee — Vaccine Distrust and Everyday Racism" written by Fatima Cody Stanford and Simar Singh Bajaj and published in The New England Journal of Medicine, 2021-02-04, Vol.384 (5), p.e12.
This very short (1 minute 14 sec) video made by a local NBC channel (KCEN in Texas) addresses how the current COVID vaccines were developed in what seems to have been a surprisingly short time.
For more in-depth information about the development of the vaccines, see:
The lightning-fast quest for COVID vaccines — and what it means for other diseases from the well-respected scholarly journal Nature.
One quote from this article: "The world was able to develop COVID-19 vaccines so quickly because of years of previous research on related viruses and faster ways to manufacture vaccines, enormous funding that allowed firms to run multiple trials in parallel, and regulators moving more quickly than normal. Some of those factors might translate to other vaccine efforts, particularly speedier manufacturing platforms."
For a summary of the many other vaccines that are now being developed and tested, see the New York Times' vaccine tracker page.
For more big-picture description of the research into COVID--including both successes and failures, and problems like racial and gender inequity in scientific fields--see:
"How Science Beat the Virus...and What it Lost in the Process" from the well-respected news magazine The Atlantic, which has produced an outstanding series of articles that have addressed social, political, medical, scientific, and economic issues related to COVID throughout the pandemic.
One quote from this article: "No other disease has been scrutinized so intensely, by so much combined intellect, in so brief a time."
For even more advanced scientific information about the development of the vaccine, you can start with this scholarly journal article:
Coronavirus vaccine development: from SARS and MERS to COVID-19 in the Journal of Biomedical Science, from December 2020. 27, 104 (2020).
You can also explore this
There have been big inequalities in vaccination during these early weeks. Scientific American reported on January 20 that White Americans are getting vaccinated at much higher rates than Black Americans.
A quote from this article:
Black, Hispanic and Native Americans are dying from covid at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis. And non-Hispanic Black and Asian health care workers are more likely to contract covid and to die from it than white workers. (Hispanics can represent any race or combination of races.)
“My concern now is if we don’t vaccinate the population that’s highest-risk, we’re going to see even more disproportional deaths in Black and brown communities,” said Dr. Fola May, a UCLA physician and health equity researcher. “It breaks my heart.”
The New York Times reported on February 17 that wealthier areas where more White people live in Manhattan and Staten Island have received shots at higher rates than poorer neighborhoods where there are more people of color.
In order to reduce inequities, New York State has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Task Force led by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang. For more on their work, please click here.
On a global scale, wealthier countries also have greater access to the vaccine. Oxfam estimates that 90 out of 100 people in low-income countries will not be vaccinated this year.
For more information on how wealthy countries not making the vaccine available to poorer countries endagners everyone, you can listen to or read this interview with epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves at this episode of The Atlantic's podcast "Social Distancing".
A quote from this interview: "Corporations don’t want to give away things for free. In the case of Moderna, taxpayers in the U.S. invested billions in the development of that immunogen. We’re not asking for something for free. We already paid for it...you need to make it free and accessible across the rest of the world."
Dr. Ala Stanford, pediatrician, surgeon, and founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, explains the racial inequity in getting access to vaccines in Philadelphia, which like many cities has already seen Black communities being disproportionately harmed by COVID; she also talks about the Consortium's work to make things better.