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COVID-19 and Flu Resource Page

CAI’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Ferry Good Health Project uses a community-led approach to help to reduce chronic illness among African American/Black residents in five underserved ZIP codes in Buffalo, New York. As part of that work, they share guidance and resources about preventing and treating the flu and COVID.

We update this page regularly to share the most recent guidance from the CDC and other sources.

On this page:

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters!

  • Updated (bivalent) boosters became available September 2, 2022.
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection against COVID-19.
  • If you recently had COVID-19, you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose (primary dose or booster) by 3 months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you received a positive test.
  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • COVID-19 vaccine and booster recommendations may be updated as CDC continues to monitor the latest COVID-19 data.

See the latest CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 vaccines by age group:

Booster guidance

The CDC recommends that people ages 6 months and older receive one updated (bivalent) booster when eligible.

Please visit the CDC’s “booster guidance page” for more information.

 

Doctor is holding a vaccination record card and corona virus vaccine vials. Passport of immunity to the coronavirus in the hands of a male doctor. Health passport.

Where to get COVID-19 and flu vaccines in Buffalo, NY (including In-Home Vaccination Programs)

Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. (CHCB)

COVID-19 Vaccines (initial doses and boosters) are available at the following location: CHCB, Inc. 34 Benwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14214: Monday through Saturday, 8:00am – 4:30 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome or you can make an appointment by calling 716-986-9199 (press 9)
CHCB In-Home COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination program.

Please contact Trinetta R, Alston, LPN (Vaccine Coordinator) at (716) 986-9199, ext. 5907, to ask about eligibility/schedule an in-home appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, booster, or flu vaccine (COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are free, however, you will need to provide insurance information to receive a flu vaccine).

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)

COVID-19 vaccines (initial doses and boosters) are available at the following location: Jesse Nash Health Center, 608 William St, Buffalo, NY 14206: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome or you can make an appointment using the calendar on the health department website.

ECDOH In-Home COVID-19 Vaccination Program

The ECDOH Vax Visit Program is free and available to Erie County residents ages 6 months and older. Please call 716-858-2929 to register and for additional information.

Other ways to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster

  • Search for location by zip code 
  • Your healthcare provider or physician
  • Local pharmacies

Woman getting at-home rapid COVID test

Tips for Getting an At-Home COVID-19 Testing Kit

Every home in the United States in now eligible for four free at home COVID-19 testing kits. You can order your kits via covidtests.gov. These kits are approved by the FDA.

Please be aware to only use testing kits that are approved by the FDA is you purchase or acquire at home COVID-19 testing kits online (not via covidtests.gov) or at a pharmacy or other store.

On the FDA website, you can find:

Take an at-home test:

  • If you begin having COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
  • At least five days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or
  • When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines

What if you test positive?

A positive at-home test result means that the test found the virus, and you very likely have COVID-19.

If you test positive, follow the latest CDC guidance for isolation.

Treatments for COVID-19 are now widely available. If you test positive and are at high risk for severe COVID-19 (age 50 and over or you have a weakened immune system or other health conditions), talk to a doctor as soon as possible about available treatment options.

The Test-to-Treat program is one easy way to get treatment.

What if you test negative?

A negative at-home test result means that the test did not find the virus, and you may have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. Check your test kit’s instructions for specific next steps. If you test negative, you should test again within a few days with at least 24 hours between tests.

If you test negative, follow the latest CDC guidance for self-testing.  

Closeup shot of an unrecognizable pharmacist assisting a customer in a chemist

COVID Treatment Update – NY State residents

New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 can now seek new treatments that help prevent severe disease. COVID-19 treatments work best when you receive them as soon as possible after becoming sick, so it’s important to get tested and talk to your doctor right away to find the treatment that is best for you.

Each of these treatments have proven to be effective against COVID-19 and are available throughout New York State.

There are currently two types of treatment options available:

  • Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
    • Given soon after positive COVID-19 diagnosis to help fight infection and shorten recovery time, or as a preventative to those who are not COVID-19 positive but who have immune system issues or who are unable to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Administration: Via intravenous (IV) drip or via injection (preventative).
  • Antivirals
    • Given soon after positive COVID-19 diagnosis to help fight infection and shorten recovery time.
    • Administration: Either via intravenous (IV) drip or as a tablet or capsule.

Eligibility

New Yorkers 12 years or older who test positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms may be eligible for treatment. The FDA also recently approved the antiviral Veklury (remdesivir) for pediatric patients 28 days or older weighing at least 3 kilograms.

Monoclonal antibody treatment through IV infusion is given within 7 days of having symptoms and oral antivirals can be given within 5 days of having symptoms.

Each treatment option has its own eligibility criteria and suggested use. That’s why we urge all New Yorkers to get tested as soon as symptoms come on and to reach out to their healthcare provider to seek treatment if they are positive. Your healthcare provider can determine whether you are eligible and what treatment would be best for you.

All treatments require a prescription. You should talk to your provider to see what is right for you.

All New Yorkers who test COVID-19 positive, regardless of income or health insurance coverage, are eligible to be evaluated for treatment. If you test positive for COVID-19 and do not have a regular health care provider, you can be evaluated for treatment by either:

Erie County Department of Health COVID Treatment Program

  • Symptomatic patients, with a positive COVID-19 rapid test result from an ECDOH operated COVID-19 test site (see COVID Testing for locations), will be asked to contact their primary care provider as a first step to access a prescription for COVID-19 treatment.
  • Individuals without a primary care provider, or whose primary care provider is not available to prescribe COVID-19 oral treatment, will be screened and offered a prescription if eligible.
  • This program is not available to those tested on Fridays after 12 p.m. Those individuals should contact their healthcare provider for treatment options.
  • For questions about this program, talk to staff at the testing site.
  • For medical related questions and/or additional questions about treatment please contact your healthcare provider.

ECDOH COVID-19 testing locations

The Erie County Department of Health testing locations offer PCR and rapid testing. PCR results take from 1-3 business days and results are given by phone. The rapid test takes about 20 minutes and the result is given onsite. No appointments taken; walk in only. The PCR test also tests for Influenza (Flu) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in addition to COVID.

  • Jesse Nash Health Center, 608 William St, Buffalo, NY 14206: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

More information

Other testing sites (these sites are not operated by the ECDOH):

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

Parents and caregivers can now get their children 6 months through 5 years of age vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to better protect them from COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccine dosage is based on age on the day of vaccination, not on size or weight. Children get a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults that is the right amount for their age group.

Primary series vaccination for children 6 months through 4 years of age

  • Pfizer-BioNTECH: 3 dose primary series
  • Moderna: 2 dose primary series (3rd dose, when eligible, is the Pfizer-BioNTech Updated (Bivalent Booster)
  • Johnson & Johnson Janssen: Not authorized
  • Novavax: Not authorized

Primary series vaccination for children 5 years old

  • Pfizer-BioNTECH: 2 dose primary series (3rd dose, when eligible, is the Pfizer-BioNTech Updated (Bivalent Booster)
  • Moderna: 2 dose primary series (3rd dose, when eligible, is the Pfizer-BioNTech Updated (Bivalent Booster)
  • Johnson & Johnson Janssen: Not authorized
  • Novavax (Not authorized)

For more information, please visit the CDC website.

Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status

COVID-19 Cases & Hospitalizations in New York

As of data received through January 3, 2023, the New York State Department of Health is aware of:

  • 2,612,690 laboratory-confirmed breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 17.8% of the population of fully vaccinated people 5-years or older.
  • 100,569 hospitalizations with COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 0.68% of the population of fully vaccinated people 5-years or older.
  • Fully vaccinated people may have received additional or booster doses, which are not specifically accounted for in this analysis.
  • Please visit the New York State’s COVID-19 Breakthrough Data information page for more information about COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New York

Figure 1: New cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 since July 2022 among fully vaccinated (blue line) and unvaccinated adults (orange line) age 18 years or older in New York state.

Figure 2: New hospitalizations of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 since July 2022 among fully vaccinated (blue line) and unvaccinated adults (orange line) 18 years or older in New York state.

Risk of dying if not vaccinated in the United States

  • In October 2022 (latest available data), people aged 5 and older vaccinated with an updated (bivalent booster) had 18.6x lower risk of dying from COVID-19.
  • Please visit the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for more information about COVID-19 deaths by vaccination status in the United States.

Figure 3: Rates of death of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 among vaccinated with an updated bivalent booster (black line; data only available since mid-September 2022), vaccinated without updated bivalent booster (blue line) and unvaccinated adults (orange line), age 5 years or older in the United States.

Worried young woman looking through window at home in quarantine.

COVID Quarantine & Isolation Information

As of August 24, 2022, the CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus.

About quarantining

About isolation

The CDC is:

  • Recommending that if you test positive for COVID-19, you stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home. You are likely most infectious during these first 5 days. Wear a high-quality mask when you must be around others at home and in public.
  • If after 5 days you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end your isolation after day 5.
  • Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11.
  • You should wear a high-quality mask through day 10.
  • Recommending that if you had moderate illness (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing) or severe illness (you were hospitalized) due to COVID-19 or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate through day 10.
  • Recommending that if you had severe illness or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you. If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • Clarifying that after you have ended isolation, if your COVID-19 symptoms worsen, restart your isolation at day 0. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about your symptoms or when to end isolation.
  • Recommending screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures will no longer be recommended in most community settings.
  • Emphasizing that physical distance is just one component of how to protect yourself and others. It is important to consider the risk in a particular setting, including local COVID-19 community levels and the important role of ventilation, when assessing the need to maintain physical distance.

 

Woman wearing with protective face mask

COVID-19 Mask and Respirator Guidance

Certain masks provide more protection from COVID-19 than other masks (e.g., N-95 masks provide more protection than cloth masks). The CDC has released new guidance regarding mask wearing as of March 21, 2022.

What mask or respirator should I wear?

Along with getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a well-fitting mask over your mouth and nose in indoor public settings or crowds is crucial to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Experts recommend you upgrade your mask to a high filtration respirator if you want optimal protection. Read more about types of masks and respirators at the CDC website.

When to wear a mask or respirator

Layered prevention strategies- like staying up to date on vaccines and wearing masks- can help prevent severe illness and reduce the potential for strain on the healthcare system. Wear a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you.

Know the COVID-19 community level where you live.

COVID-19 community levels are a tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data.

At All COVID-19 community levels

  • People may choose to mask at any time. Masks are recommended in indoor public transportation settings and may be required in other places by local or state authorities.

Medium or high

  • If you are at high risk for getting very sick, wear a high-quality mask or respirator.
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk getting very sick, consider self-testing to detect infection before contact and consider wearing a mask when indoors with them.

High

  • Wear a high-quality mask or respirator.
  • If you are high risk for getting very sick, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed.

Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.


Tips for Conducting an At-Home COVID-19 Test

COVID-19 testing kits have become available for at home use and it is important to conduct the test correctly in order to get the most accurate result.

How to use a self-test

Read the complete manufacturer’s instructions for use before using the test. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about the test or your results.

Prepare to collect a specimen

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Open the box and follow the instructions included with the self-test to collect your own nasal or saliva specimen.
  • If you don’t collect the specimens as directed, your test results may be incorrect.

Perform the test

  • Follow the instructions exactly and perform the steps in the order that they are listed. The manufacturer may also provide other resources, such as quick reference guides or instructional videos, to help you perform the test correctly.
  • Most self-tests require the collection of a nasal specimen. A few self-tests require a saliva specimen. (Read more about self-testing at the CDC site.)
  • Once collected, use the specimen as described in the instructions to complete the self-test.

Tips

  • Store all test components according to the manufacturer’s instructions until ready for use.
  • Check the expiration date. Do not use expired tests or test components that are damaged or appear discolored based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean the countertop, table, or other surfaces where you will do the test.
  • Do not open test devices or other test components until you are ready to start the testing process.
  • Have a timer ready because you may need to time several of the test steps.
  • Read test results only within the amount of time specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. A result read before or after the specified timeframe may be incorrect.
  • Don’t reuse test devices or other components.

After you have the results, discard the specimen collection swab or tube and test in the trash, clean all surfaces that the specimen may have touched, and wash your hands.

For more information about at-home testing please visit the CDC website.

Nurse gives flu shot vaccine to patient at pharmacy.

Flu Update

Getting the flu shot is important for protecting yourself, your loved ones, and the community.

This season it’s especially important to get a flu shot to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu. Read more about the flu vaccine at the CDC site.

Protect yourself

Flu vaccines can prevent millions of people from getting flu. During the 2019-2020 flu season, flu vaccines prevented an estimated 8.7 million flu illnesses, 105,000 flu-related hospitalizations, and 6,300 flu-related deaths.

Protect your time

People who get flu are usually sick for about a week. Being protected against flu and staying healthy means you can be there for loved ones who depend on you.

Protect your community

People with certain chronic conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from flu, including being hospitalized or even dying. Getting a flu vaccine can reduce the risk of giving flu to people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and sickle cell anemia.

Protect your loved ones

A flu vaccine helps protect the people around you who are more likely to get very sick from flu, like babies, young children, pregnant people, and older adults.

FAQs about getting both the flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine

Can you get a flu vaccine after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, there is no required time interval in between the two vaccines. You can get a flu shot after getting a COVID-19 vaccine or you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and then get a flu shot. You can even get both vaccines at the same time.

Why should I get a flu shot if I’m not around as many people as normal due to COVID-19?

A flu shot is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from the flu. It’s important to protect people around you, particularly people at higher risk of severe flu illness, like young children, older adults, and people with underlying health conditions.

Does a fly vaccination increase your risk of getting COVID-19?

No, there is no evidence that getting a flu shot increases your risk of getting COVID-19.

What is the difference between flu and COVID-19?

Flu and COVID-19 are both infectious respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with an influenza virus.