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Vaccine Information

The UFT has been working closely with our health care partners across the city to create a COVID-19 vaccine distribution network just for our members. Below are answers to many common questions about how the UFT vaccine program will work. Contact the UFT Vaccine Hotline at 212-701-9677if you need assistance. We also have released a set of frequently-asked questions about the safety of the available COVID-19 vaccines

About the UFT vaccine program

How does the UFT’s vaccine provider matching process work?

We match members and vaccine provider partners by the availability of the vaccine, your current assignment, your location based on either your home address we have on file or your school location and your willingness and/or ability to travel outside your area. While we are giving priority to in-person staff, those who indicate that they are able to travel outside their area may get matched first due to vaccine availability. 

As providers let us know where they have available vaccines, we work to match members who live or work close to those sites. Providers cannot send vaccines to other sites since this is a highly regulated process. 

There is a time limit to schedule your appointment; if you miss the deadline, your spot will go to other interested members. As more vaccines become available, we continue matching members.

Can you match me to a specific provider or location?

No, we cannot guarantee specific providers or locations. Members are matched based on whether they are currently working inside a school building, willingness to travel and home/school address. Supply of the vaccine is extremely limited, but we hope to match everyone as quickly as possible. 

Member eligibility

When are UFT members eligible to receive the vaccine?  

New York State recently announced that additional frontline employees are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1B of vaccine distribution, including educators and school staff. UFT members working for the DOE became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, Jan. 11, with priority given to in-person staff.

I never received an email from the UFT about the vaccine program. Can I still participate? 

The vaccination program is open to all DOE-employed UFT members. Call the UFT Vaccine Hotline at 212-701-9677for more assistance. Make sure you are subscribed to receive UFT emails. You can also fill out this online request form to be matched with a vaccine provider in the future. 

When I filled out the UFT survey I originally said I was not interested in receiving the vaccine, but I have changed my mind. Can I still participate in this process? 

Please call the UFT Vaccine Hotline at 212-701-9677 to be added back to the queue. This will put you into the list of members to be matched with a provider. Due to the shortage of available vaccine, you will most likely be on the waiting list, but will be matched with a provider as soon as possible.

Will priority be given to UFT members working in-person at school buildings? 

The UFT is giving priority to those members who currently have an in-person assignment. Given, however, the limits of the supply and our provider locations, willingness to travel will expedite a member being matched with a provider.  

Can I receive the vaccine through the UFT if I am not a resident of New York City? 

Yes, as long as you are a UFT member.   

Are paraprofessionals eligible to receive the vaccine? 

Yes, all UFT DOE titles will be eligible to receive the vaccine.   

How can retired members receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines on Jan. 12 to recommend that states offer the vaccine to everyone age 65 and older. If you are under age 65, we will notify you when you become eligible to receive the vaccine.

If you live in New York, you can search for a vaccination site near you in New York City or in New York State. If you live outside New York State, you should check your local guidelines to determine how to schedule an appointment for the vaccine. Be prepared to bring documentation of your age to your appointment.Scheduling an appointment

How will we be able to make an appointment through the UFT to receive the vaccine?

The union has reached an agreement with major city health care systems to expand the access of eligible UFT members to the coronavirus vaccine. The UFT is surveying all its members to develop a list of those who want the vaccine immediately, prioritizing personnel with a current in-school assignment. The union will then coordinate with the participating health care institutions to ensure that members willing to be vaccinated can do so as soon as possible at convenient locations within the metropolitan area. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the UFT Vaccine Hotline at 212-701-9677. DOE-employed members can also book appointments directly with the city through https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov.  

I filled out the UFT survey but was not matched with a provider. When will I be able to find an available appointment?

Both the city and state vaccine supply are running low. We are working to try to increase the number of vaccines available to educators. If you indicated that you were interested in receiving the vaccine as soon as possible, but have not yet been matched with a provider, you should have or will shortly receive an email letting you know that you are on the waiting list. 

Due to the large demand and shortage of vaccine availability, we cannot match all of our interested members at this time. We will only match you when a provider says a vaccine is available for you. We will continue to connect members with vaccine providers as soon as more vaccines become available.

Do I have to return to the same location to receive the second dose of vaccine? 

Yes. Since there are two different vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, it is important to return to the same location where you received your first dose to ensure you will receive the same vaccine. You will be able to schedule your second dose at your first appointment, either 21 or 28 days apart, depending on the type of vaccine received. Remember to bring your vaccination card or record with you to your second appointment so your vaccination can be recorded.

Where can UFT members who live outside New York City receive the vaccine?   

The UFT's partner vaccine providers are located within the city with some locations on Long Island. As long as members are willing to travel, those who live outside New York City could receive the vaccine through the UFT's program.

Do I have to cancel other appointments for the vaccine if I already have one? 

As soon as you decide upon the appointment you want to keep, please cancel other appointment times to free up time slots for others. If you also received a match with a vaccine provider in the UFT's program, we ask that you notify us by filling out the opt-out survey in a follow-up email or by calling the union's vaccine hotline at 212-701-9677.

I have been matched with a UFT vaccine provider partner, but my appointment was cancelled. What should I do to obtain a new appointment?

If you have been matched with EmblemHealth's AdvantageCare Physicians or NYU Langone Health through the UFT’s vaccine program and you are unable to be immunized through that matched provider (for example, the provider cancels or it runs out of vaccine), please call the UFT vaccine hotline at 212-701-9677 so we can make it a priority to get you a new match.

I was matched with a provider and made my vaccine appointment. Can I change the date, time, or location of the appointment?

No, unfortunately due to the scarcity and regulations surrounding the vaccine, it will not be possible to change the date, time, or location of your vaccine appointment. If you cancel your appointment, we will be unable to guarantee another appointment for you. 

I was matched with a provider but I did not schedule my appointment before the deadline, what can I do?

Please call the UFT Vaccine Hotline at 212-701-9677 to be added back to the queue. However, due to vaccine scarcity and restrictions we cannot immediately guarantee you another slot right away, and you may be placed on the waiting list. 

Members who have never been matched will be prioritized over those that have been previously matched. Feel free to seek appointments through other means as well while waiting.  

I missed my appointment with my matched UFT provider. What can I do to obtain another appointment?

Unfortunately, due to the scarcity and restrictions surrounding the vaccine, you will have to seek another appointment. When members make an appointment, it prevents another person from getting the vaccine. Members are not guaranteed another appointment but can be added back into the pool again by calling the UFT Vaccine Hotline at 212-701-9677.

Can I give my vaccine appointment to a friend or family member?

No, the appointment can only go to the member who made it. When you arrive at your appointment, they will confirm your identity matches the name on the appointment and ask to see proof of employment. 

What to expect at your appointment

What proof do I need to bring to my appointment to show that I am eligible to receive the vaccine?  

Bring proof of employment, such as an employee ID card, employer letter or a recent pay stub as well as a government-issued ID to verify your identity. 

What information and paperwork will I receive at my first vaccine appointment? 

  • You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it and where you received it.
  • You will need to complete the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form (PDF) in order to get vaccinated. The state requires the provider administering the vaccine to check that you have completed the form and are eligible.
  • You should receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.

How much will the vaccine cost? Will I be charged a copay?

The vaccine is free for everyone. Your insurance may be billed by a provider, but you will not be directly charged a copay or other fee.  

Will medical professionals be administering the vaccine and be on hand while the vaccine is being given?

Yes. Medical professionals will be administering the vaccine. They will also be on hand for 15-30 minutes after you receive the vaccine to monitor you for any adverse reactions.   

Which vaccine is being administered — Pfizer or Moderna? 

Both vaccines will be administered based on available supply. It is important to return to the same location where you received your first dose to ensure you will receive the same vaccine.  

What safety protocols will vaccine providers be taking? 

Medical professionals and those who receive the vaccine must wear a face covering at all times. Remember to wear a mask to your appointment as you will not be permitted on site at the vaccination location without one. Social distancing requirements should be followed at all times.

Absences

Will staff get time off to receive the vaccine?

Members will receive up to two hours of paid release time per vaccine dose. You must provide at least three days of advance notice to your principal/supervisor for any such absence so appropriate coverage can be arranged. You will need to provide documentation of the appointment as well as your receipt of the vaccine to your administrator.

If I have side effects after taking the COVID-19 vaccine and feel sick, am I entitled to paid time off?

Yes. You can take up to eight days of excused leave at full pay for symptoms related to vaccine side effects, such as fatigue, fever, headaches, chills and nausea. If you have more moderate side effects, you may be able to use up to two excused days. In either case, you must provide documentation showing you took a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 diagnostic test during the leave period and the date you received your test results. You must use your own sick leave time for any additional time taken or if you do not receive a COVID-19 test. 

Additional questions

Can you help me with a vaccine provider that is not partnered with the UFT vaccine program?

We can’t help members if they are having issues with city vaccine hubs or if they were not matched through our program. 

Does the DOE have the right to know if we have taken the vaccine? 

Generally, no. The vaccine is not mandatory and the DOE cannot ask for vaccination records as a matter of routine. But, if you need time off to get the vaccine or to recover from side effects, you will have to provide proof of vaccination. 

I am a NYU Langone patient and received a text from them about the COVID-19 vaccine. Is that related to the UFT vaccine program?

If you are a previous patient of NYU Langone Health and received a text about vaccines from them, that text is part of its general communication to all patients and separate from its matching program with the UFT. If you are matched with NYU Langone through our program, you will be notified in an email from the UFT.

I currently have a medical accommodation. If I receive the vaccine, will I be forced to return to in-person teaching?   

The DOE has extended medical accommodations for the duration of the school year. No updated decisions have been made regarding medical accommodations based on receiving the vaccine.   

Will all schools reopen once staff members have received the vaccine? 

The DOE has not made any decisions about opening additional schools due to the availability of the vaccine.