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:
- REACH Buffalo 2022-23 Community Needs Assessment
- Where to Get Vaccines in Buffalo, NY
- COVID-19 Vaccine Update
- Tips for Getting an At-Home COVID-19 Testing Kit
- COVID-19 Treatment Update – NY State residents
- COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status
- COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Information
- COVID-19 Mask and Respirator Guidance
- Tips for Conducting an At-Home COVID-19 Test
- Flu Update
REACH Buffalo 2022-23 Community Needs Assessment
From July 2022 to February 2023, a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) was completed to better understand community perspectives in our priority zip codes about COVID-19 vaccination.
You can read our full report here, or a one page summary here.
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 Thursday (8:00am – 7:30 p.m) or Friday and Saturday (8:00am-4:30pm).
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)
Call the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Vaccination Clinic (ages 6 months and older) at (716) 858-7687 to schedule the appointment.
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
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Original vaccines are no longer available
Previous COVID-19 vaccines are called “original” because they were designed to protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19.
As of April 18, 2023, the original Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized for use by the FDA in the United States. Updated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are being used for all age groups.
The updated vaccines are called “updated” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omricon variant BA.4 and BA.5. Two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, have developed updated COVID-19 vaccines.
What you need to know:
- Everyone aged 6 years and older should get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be considered up to date.
- People aged 65 years and older may get a 2nd updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 booster dose.
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 booster doses.
- Children aged 6 months-5 years may need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date, including at least 1 updated dose of Pfize-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, depending on the number of doses they’ve previously received and their age.
- COVID-19 vaccine recommendations will be updated as needed.
When are you up to date?
Everyone aged 6 years and older are up to date when they get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Children aged 6 months-5 years who got the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are up to date if they are
- Aged 6 months-4 years and get 3 COVID-19 vaccine doses, including at least 1 updated COVID-19 dose.
- Aged 5 years and you get at least 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Children aged 6 months-5 years who got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are up to date when they get 2 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses, including at least 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine dose.
People who are unable or choose not to get a recommended mRNA vaccine are up to date when they get the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine doses approved for your age group.
For more information, please visit the CDC website.
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:
- A list of FDA approved rapid antigen-based tests
- A list of FDA approved molecular based (PCR tests)
- A searchable list of fraudulent products related to COVID-19
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.
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).
- 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.
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:
- Calling 1-888-TREAT-NY
- Visiting the NYS COVID-19 ExpressCare Therapeutics Access website
- Testing site zip code finder
- Many pharmacies also offer testing
Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths by Vaccination Status
People who are unvaccinated have higher risk of testing positive, being hospitalized, and dying from COVID-19 than people who are vaccinated.
COVID-19 cases & hospitalizations in New York
As of data received through April 24, 2023, the New York State Department of Health is aware of:
- 2,816,562 laboratory-confirmed breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 19.1% of the population of fully vaccinated people 5-years or older.
- 118,453 hospitalizations with COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 0.80% of the population of fully vaccinated people 5-years or older.
- In this analysis, full-vaccinated is defined as an individual who:
- Has received one of the three original vaccines that were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
- Is 14 days or more past the final dose of their original 2-dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) or 1-dose (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) series.
- 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 October 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 October 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 February 2023 (latest available data), people ages 18 and older vaccinated with an updated (bivalent booster) had 6x lower risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated people, and a 1.4x lower risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to people vaccinated without the updated (bivalent) booster.
- 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 18 years or older in the United States.
COVID Quarantine and 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.
- CDC now recommends that instead of quarantining if you were exposed to COVID-19, you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 6 (get tested at least 5 full days after your last exposure)
- Masks are not recommended for children under ages 2 years and younger, or for people with some disabilities. Other prevention actions (such as improving ventilation) should be used to avoid transmission during these 10 days.
- The CDC is reiterating that regardless of vaccination status, you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19.
- You should also isolate if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.
- If your results are positive, follow CDC’s full isolation recommendations.
- If your results are negative, you can end your isolation.
- You should also isolate if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.