How To Get the Covid Vaccine In NYC

My experience getting the appointment, shot, and side effects.

I am officially vaccinated against Covid-19!

I got my first shot on Monday, March 15 at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, NY.

The second shot was Monday, April 5 at the same location.

I received the Pfizer vaccine at that site, which was run by FEMA and staffed by the Air Force. A close friend received his vaccine shots from the Javits Center in Manhattan, which was run by FEMA and staffed by Army personnel.

My husband received the Moderna vaccine at a local Rite-Aid by the pharmacist.

Getting A Vaccine Appointment

***UPDATE: As of now, ALL New Yorkers 16 years and up are eligible to get vaccinated!!

In New York City, there are a few ways to find available vaccine appointments. Here are the three biggest options in order of their usefulness (according to me).

The option not listed here is going directly to websites like Walgreens and Rite-Aid and calling individual locations to ask if they have available appointments.


The main one and the one I used is

There, you will see the sites that have currently available appointments and can click to reserve yours, which takes you to a new site to fill out a form to make sure you’re eligible now.

Once you fill out the questions and are confirmed eligible, you’ll select an appointment time and fill out more forms.

When you are finished, you’ll be reminded to bring your valid (not expired) government ID card and health insurance card if you are insured.

Then add the appointment to your calendar.

To get notifications as new appointments open up on Turbovax, follow @turbovax on Twitter and click the bell to receive notifications each time they post a tweet with more info.

VaccineFinder is another resource for finding appointments.

When you go to the site, click “Find Covid-19 Vaccines.” You’ll be taken to a page and asked for your zip code.

On the left, you will see the list of locations along with whether they currently have the vaccine in stock. On the right, you will see a map of the area.

This page does NOT tell you if those locations have actual available appointments.

Click on the name of the location in the list on the left to see more information about the location and a button for checking appointment availability.

When you click that button, you will be taken to a new site, in this case Walgreens’s website. Again, you’ll put in your zip code and the site will let you know if there are available appointments in your area. If there are, go to the next step, which is typically seeing if you are eligible.

Then you will go through the same process of filling out forms and confirming the appointment.

I found this site a bit frustrating because you have to go to each location’s site individually to find out if there are open appointments.

NYC Vaccine List

The third resource I found was NYC Vaccine List.

Like the other two, you can search by location and there will be a list of open sites.

This list will usually have some open options, but I have found that there are generally not particularly nearby — especially if you forget to change the selection from “All NYC regions” to your borough. For example, here is the first open one on the list right now:

Which is fine, as it has appointments. BUT….it is in Syracuse, NY. I am in Brooklyn, NY.

That is a 5-hour drive away.

When I changed it to “Brooklyn” in the dropdown box, instead of saying there were no Brooklyn appointments available, it continued to only show available locations that are 4+ hours away. So, not particularly useful for me personally.

After Getting The Shot

Once you have gotten the shot, you will definitely have a sore arm for a couple of days. It’s not so painful that you can’t move it, but it is pretty sore and painful. Enough that I couldn’t sleep on my left side and I definitely noticed.

People I know have had various reactions.

I was extremely tired the day after both shots. The morning after the second one, I woke up feeling nauseous and with a headache. I spent the day just feeling “off” but not horrendous. But after BOTH shots, my left armpit hurt. The lymph nodes in it swelled up a lot and were sore and painful.

After the first shot, both my father and my husband experienced a few hours of fever and chills.

I can’t tell you how you’ll feel or what reactions you will definitely have. However, the Air Force guys at my vaccine location told me this:

“If you have the antibodies (had covid at some point), you will have a bigger immune response to shot #1. If you do NOT have the antibodies, you’ll have the bigger response to shot #2.”

So, that is something to keep in mind. A lot of people suggest taking the day off of work after shot #2 (if you never caught Covid) to just give yourself time and space to rest in case you feel sick or unfocused.

Important Information About The COVID Vaccine & Next Steps:

In my case, the lymph nodes in my armpit of the arm I got the shot in became enlarged and painful.

According to my research, 11–16% of people in the Pfizer and Moderna trials had this issue, and it is the lymph nodes on the side where you got the shot.

Experts are recommending that you do NOT get a mammogram within 1 month of getting the vaccine, as the enlarged lymph nodes will show up and cause you to need further testing (because of potential breast cancer concerns), so the lymph node response from the shot will skew the results of the mammogram.

It is recommended that you take a photo on your phone of you vaccine record card so you have a digital record of it. Experts also recommend not carrying it everywhere with you, as there is no way to replace it if stolen or lost.

Unfortunately, there are no long-term studies on the vaccine yet, as it hasn’t been around very long. So, we don’t know yet how long your immunity will last or if you’ll need a booster in the future (like with tetanus).

The good news is that while the vaccine cannot guarantee you will never get Covid, it DOES say it will reduce your symptoms by A LOT and claims to reduce your chances of hospitalization from Covid by 100%.

THAT is a great reason to get the vaccine!

I hope this is helpful!

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Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.”

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