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COVID-19 Update

"Our Community. Our Priority."

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to help prevent getting sick from COVID-19.

To check your eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine


Should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

We strongly recommend you get vaccinated. The vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19. If you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine should prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect people around you.

How do I know if COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

Like all vaccines, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been rigorously tested for safety before being authorized for use in the United States through clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. CDC and the FDA will keep monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.

What is a mRNA vaccine?

mRNA vaccines take advantage of the process that cells use to make proteins in order to trigger an immune response and build immunity to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In contrast, most vaccines use weakened or inactivated versions or components of the disease-causing pathogen to stimulate the body’s immune response to create antibodies. Though mRNA technology is new, it’s not unknown as they have been studied for more than a decade. mRNA vaccines do not contain a live virus and do not carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person. mRNA from the vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell and does not affect or interact with a person’s DNA.

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last.

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.

Why do I need two COVID-19 shots?

Currently authorized vaccines, and most vaccines under development, require two doses of vaccine. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. You need both to get the best protection.

Can pregnant women take the vaccine?

Yes. It is recommended to discuss the vaccine first with their primary care provider or obstetrician.

Can people on biologics take the vaccine?

Yes. It may have less of a response; however, the vaccine is still strongly recommended.

How do I know if I’m eligible to receive the vaccine?

To check your eligibility to receive the COVID vaccine visit:

Will there be side effects from the vaccine?

Common side effects that have been observed in clinical studies include fatigue, muscle soreness at the injection site and fever.

How long will vaccine immunity last?

Researchers do not yet know how long immunity lasts after vaccination. That’s why continuing prevention practices like wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly and social distancing will still be important.

I’ve heard about “herd immunity.” What would it take to get the population to “herd immunity” for COVID-19?

‘Herd immunity’ happens when enough people have protection from a disease that it is unlikely that the disease will continue to spread. As a result, the virus won't easily spread among the community. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. They also do not know how long the vaccine will protect people.

Letting COVID-19 spread through communities naturally would lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death.

If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and social distance?

Yes. You will need to continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene for the foreseeable future as the vaccine gets rolled out in phases.

Experts need more time to understand the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on mask use. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.

COVID-19 Testing

Oswego Health offers COVID-19 testing at the Oswego Hospital Mobile Swab location on West Seventh Street. Please note, testing is by appointment only. Once you have an order for testing from your provider, your appointment will be scheduled. If you do not have a provider, you can visit one of our Urgent Care centers and one of our providers will see you and complete the test.

Oswego Hospital Mobile Swab Station
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. daily

Fulton Urgent Care
Monday – Friday 11:30 4.m. – 7:30 p.m. daily
Saturday and Sunday – 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. daily
Urgent Care Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Central Square Urgent Care
Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily
Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily
Urgent Care Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Protecting Our Patients

Your safety comes first and that is why we have implemented the following safety measures to keep you safe and prevent COVID-19 from spreading:

  • Oswego Health remains committed to being one of the safest facilities for the community to seek their healthcare needs and therefore continues to restrict visitation at the hospital as of March 31, 2021. We will continue to monitor the situation in the County and our facilities and once we feel it is safe for our staff and patients we will open limited visitation. Please bear with us and continue your vigilance. COVID is not gone and continues to be an issue in Oswego County. Exceptions to the visitation policy are for those situations that when deemed medically necessary, one support person will be permitted to accompany a patient for outpatient services only. This includes appointments for laboratory services, radiology, medical imaging, primary care, and specialty outpatient services. For inpatient services, exceptions to visitation restrictions remain one support person will be allowed for delivering OB mothers; children under the age of 18; patients with confusion, altered mental status, or developmental delays; and end-of-life patients. Also, patients needing surgery will be offered support through the guidance of a surgical navigator. It is also important to realize that both the patient and their support person will need to undergo the enhanced COVID-19 screening before entering any Oswego Health facility.
  • Everyone entering Oswego Health facilities, including staff, will continue to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Everyone entering Oswego Health facilities will be asked to wear a cloth mask.
  • All medical staff will always wear surgical masks and protective eye wear, as well as other necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), always when caring for patients.
  • Six-foot social distances will be established in public areas such as waiting rooms.
  • Extra cleaning and disinfection of high-touch, public surface areas will continue.
  • For a complete listing of guideline, please read the Updated Guidance for Hospital Operators Regarding Visitation from the Department of Health.

If you are experiencing symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath:

Call your primary care provider or the
Oswego County COVID-19 Hotline at 315-349-3330

It's important to call ahead of time rather than coming to a medical facility. Calling ahead directs you to the most appropriate care and allows precautions to protect yourself, other patients and healthcare providers.

The severity of coronavirus symptoms can range from very mild to severe. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is similar to other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.

COVID-19 diagnostic test cash price is $100.

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