COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines
Safety Guidelines for In-Person Care
Our providers are onsite for care as well as COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing and flu shots. If you are in need of in-person care, please see the extra guidelines we have put in place to ensure your safety.
- Appointments are required for all member visits.
- A face covering is required at all times and can be provided upon arrival.
- If you are wearing gloves, you will be asked to remove them and wash your hands. New gloves can also be provided.
- All members will receive a temperature screening upon arrival.
- All members will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms in advance of coming into the practice.
- You must have no known exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- If you have traveled outside of the United States within the past 10 days, you must have already received a negative COVID-19 test before coming into the practice for care.
Please note: If you have COVID-19 symptoms, a known exposure, or do not meet the travel guidelines listed above, you can still receive care through a virtual visit or if in need of a COVID-19 test, we can arrange for a test at a different location or via the at-home Pixel test.
We understand that many members are still staying close to home. Virtual visits for primary care, immediate care, physical therapy, behavioral health, and nutrition counseling will remain available and are encouraged if you prefer to connect with our providers remotely.
Schedule a Visit
Members can log in to the member portal to self-schedule a primary or immediate care virtual visit. To schedule other in-person visits, a COVID-19 test, flu shot, or a virtual specialty health visit, please contact our Personal Health Navigators by chat through the member portal or by calling 646.819.5100.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine FAQ
- What are the symptoms?
- How can I protect myself?
- What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms?
- What contact tracing is available in New York?
- What are the current testing guidelines for travel?
- Can I get a COVID-19 test at The Health Center?
- What is a PCR test vs. a Rapid test?
- What is sensitivity vs specificity?
- Are there in-home testing options?
- What other testing options are available in New York State?
- Can you provide more details on your antibody testing?
- Where can I get the vaccine?
- Who is eligible for a booster dose?
- If I already had COVID-19, should I get vaccinated?
- How many shots do I have to get if I want to be protected against COVID-19?
- Can I choose which vaccine I get?
- Where can I find out more about the available vaccines?
- What do we know about the side effects of the available vaccines?
- Should I take the vaccine if I have severe allergies?
- Should I take the vaccine if I am pregnant or considering pregnancy?
- Have more detailed questions on the vaccine?
What are the symptoms?
See below for a list of COVID-19 symptoms. They usually begin within two to three days of exposure but could take as long as 14 days to develop.
- Fever or chills (above 100°F / 38.0°C)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you have been in close contact with someone (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) that has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you are considered to be exposed and should quarantine yourself for 14 days.
It is also important to note that a large percentage of the spread of infection has been due to individuals that are asymptomatic: they are infected with the virus, but not showing any symptoms. Therefore, it is important for everyone to wear masks when in public and practice social distancing.
How can I protect myself?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus of COVID-19 is primarily transmitted in the air via close person-to-person contact, through large respiratory droplets when an infectious individual coughs or sneezes. It may also be spread through surfaces, but is less likely. Evidence shows best practices such as social distancing and face masks can reduce the risk of an outbreak.
To protect yourself:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible, but especially with unwashed hands
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you are sick
- Cough and sneeze into your arm (not hand) or a tissue
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Socially distance yourself from other individuals
- Avoid (as much as possible) large groups and events (as of Nov. 16: New York currently has a limit of no more than 10 persons at a private gathering)
- Wear a face covering when in public or in spaces where social distancing is not possible
What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms?
If you are experiencing symptoms or think you are at risk and want to be evaluated, please stay home and contact your provider. For members of The Health Center at Hudson Yards who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call us at 646.819.5100 to help us connect you to a provider virtually. For non-members, we recommend seeking remote care with Mount Sinai Now.
If you develop life-threatening conditions like severe shortness of breath, changes in mental status, severe dehydration, or other complications, don’t hesitate to dial 911.
What contact tracing is available in New York?
To help track and stop the transmission of COVID-19 in your community, consider downloading the contact tracing app COVID Alert NY to your mobile phone. COVID Alert NY is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. You will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
A few details of the COVID Alert NY app:
- You can opt-in to receive alerts if you have had a potential exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Your phone exchanges a secure random code with the other phone to record that they were near.
- The app will never collect, transmit or store your personal information and is completely anonymous.
- Your location will never be tracked, the app uses bluetooth technology to sense when another person with the same app comes within 6 feet. Your phone exchanges a secure code with the other phone to record that they were near.
For more information including details on how to download the app, visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-alert-ny
What are the current testing guidelines for travel?
Domestic US travelers are no longer required to quarantine upon arrival or test pre- or post-travel unless instructed to do so by the airline. Travelers are asked to continue daily symptom monitoring for the 14 days post arrival and if symptoms arise, follow steps to self isolate.
US International travelers, regardless of vaccination status, are still required to test upon returning to the US and monitor for symptoms. Many countries are also requiring a negative test before entering their country. See the CDC’s website for detailed international travel guidance.
While booking your international travel, we suggest you:
- Visit the US Department of State website to review the COVID-19 testing guidelines for the country you are visiting
- Plan your COVID-19 test in preparation for your travel. You can either:
- Contact The Health Center to get tested within the practice 72 days prior to your travel date. Nasal swabs are available and covered by insurance. Saliva tests are also available for a cost.
- Order a Pixel at-home test from LabCorp and administer your lower nasal swab test 3 days prior to traveling (available for all individuals 2 years and older)
The delivery of COVID-19 test results can vary due to demand. Please factor in the 3 days requested to test and receive your results prior to traveling.
Can I get a COVID-19 test at The Health Center?
Yes, if you are a member of The Health Center and you meet the following criteria, you can schedule an appointment to come into the practice for a COVID-19 diagnostic or antibody test:
- You are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Have not traveled outside of the US in the past 14 days
- Have no known exposure to someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days
We are currently offering PCR COVID-19 diagnostic tests at The Health Center for asymptomatic members. The test is administered with a nasal swab to the nostril. Results are typically available within 24-72 hours. A saliva test is also available at a cost.
Contact a Personal Health Navigator by chat through the member portal or by calling 646.819.5100 to schedule a COVID-19 test.
Please note: If you have COVID-19 symptoms, a known exposure, or do not meet the travel guidelines listed above, we can arrange for other testing options, such as testing at a different location or via the at-home Pixel test.
What is a PCR test vs a Rapid test?
A molecular based PCR test is a laboratory test that looks for viral RNA.
- It is highly accurate and sensitive. Results are usually available within 24-48 hours, but can sometimes take up to 5 days depending on where you live and the amount of testing going on in your area (laboratory availability). This is the test most health care settings require for diagnosis and pre-procedural before coming into a health care environment.
Rapid tests provide same day results and are commonly referred to as Point of Care (POC). They break down into two categories:
- Rapid Antigen
- Measures viral protein, is less sensitive and specific and has been troubled by false negatives, particularly in patients without symptoms.
- Rapid PCR
- Tests viral RNA, much like lab based PCR tests, but have low sensitivity.
We are currently offering PCR COVID-19 diagnostic tests at The Health Center for asymptomatic members. The test is administered with a nasal swab to the nostril. Results are typically available within 24-48 hours. We are not currently administering rapid COVID-19 tests as they are not as accurate.
Contact a Personal Health Navigator by chat through the member portal or by calling 646.819.5100 to schedule a COVID-19 test.
What is sensitivity vs specificity?
Sensitivity is the ability of a test to correctly identify those with the disease. A test with high sensitivity will result in a low false negative rate. This is especially important for diagnostic tests, as a false negative result means that an individual with COVID-19 would mistakenly believe they were not infected.
Specificity is the ability of the test to correctly identify those without the disease. A test with high specificity will result in a low false positive rate. This is especially important for antibody tests, as a false positive result means that an individual without antibodies would mistakenly believe they were protected from the virus.
Are there in-home testing options?
A home test kit called Pixel can be ordered via LabCorp. This is a molecular based PCR test, shipped to a central lab by FedEx and covered by insurance if a member orders the kit. The test can be administered to anyone 2 years and older. Turn around is about 48-72 hours. Visit https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/covid-19 for more information and to order your kit.
Vault is a home saliva test available to some people in New Jersey: https://www.vaulthealth.com/covid
Premier members of The Health Center can contact the Premier Health Navigator by email at email@example.com or by calling 646.819.5111 to arrange for in-home testing.
What other testing options are available in New York State?
Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1.888.364.3065. There are also a number of testing sites available in New York. Visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you to see a list.
- If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.
- If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies including pharmacies and medical practices or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.
Can you provide more details on your antibody testing?
See our detailed antibody testing FAQ for more information.
Where can I get the vaccine?
All adults 16+ are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and children 5-15 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Individuals 5+ can schedule a vaccine at a Mount Sinai location or you can schedule through one of the below city and state resources:
Who is eligible for a booster dose?
A booster shot of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines has been FDA authorized. See below for details on who is eligible to get their booster dose. (as of 1/6)
If fully vaccinated with Pfizer: 12+ and second dose was administered 5+ months ago
If fully vaccinated with Moderna: 18+ and second dose was administered 5+ months ago
If vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson: 18+ and single dose was administered 2+ months ago
Note: Mix-and-match is allowed: eligible individuals who have completed their primary series can receive a Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster.
Schedule your booster:
You can schedule your booster through one of the below resources:
If I already had COVID-19, should I get vaccinated?
If you have had COVID-19 and recovered, it is still worthwhile to get a COVID-19 vaccine. While most people are protected from getting COVID-19 again after they’ve recovered, we don’t know how long that protection lasts.
How many shots do I have to get if I want to be protected against COVID-19?
Some of the vaccines that have been authorized by the FDA—including the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines—require two doses three to four weeks apart. It is very important that you get both doses at the recommended times. Others, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, require only one shot.
We do not yet know how long the protection from these vaccines will work. It is possible that you will need to get additional shots in the future.
Can I choose which vaccine I get?
Most vaccination sites are not allowing for patient choice at this time. We recommend that you accept whichever vaccine you are offered and not wait for another vaccine to become available.
What do we know about side effects of the available vaccines?
Like all vaccines, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. These rarely interfere with daily activities, and often go away with over-the-counter pain medications. It is common to have these types of side effects after a vaccination. They mean your immune system is working and making antibodies as it’s supposed to.
The following side effects were common for all three vaccines:
- Pain at injection site
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
These are not all the possible side effects you may have when taking the vaccine. If you experience any side effects not listed here, tell your health care professional.
In mid-April, the FDA said that six cases had been reported in the United States of a rare and severe type of blood clot in patients who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA advised that people who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.
Should I take the vaccine if I have severe allergies?
Do not get the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines if you have had a severe allergic reaction (i.e., anaphylaxis) to vaccines or the components of that vaccine. If you have a history of severe medication allergies, please discuss with your health care provider.
Should I take the vaccine if I am pregnant or considering pregnancy?
Pregnant and breastfeeding persons are encouraged to speak to their health care providers about the potential benefit of vaccination, especially if they are a health care worker or an essential worker, or have underlying medical conditions.