Tag Archives: COVID-19

FDA Grants Full Approval to Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

On August 23, 2021 the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older– further proving that the vaccine is safe and effective.

The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

More than 204 million of the Pfizer shots have been administered, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have not received the vaccinated yet, please do it now. It could save your life and the lives of those you love. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for yourself or your loved one, please contact Cornerstone Family Healthcare at 845-563-8000 or register online by clicking here.

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock.

“While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA approved Covid-19 vaccine, the public can be confident that this vaccine meets the FDA’s gold standard for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality that we require for an approved product,” said Dr. Woodcock. ” While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated.”

Learn more: https://www.fda.gov/…/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccine

Third COVID-19 Dose for Immunocompromised

Third COVID-19 Dose Recommended for Immunocompromised Individuals

The New York State Department of Health has authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for New Yorkers with compromised immune systems, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation last week. Eligible New Yorkers can receive their third dose 28 days after the completion of their two-dose vaccine series, effective immediately.

The CDC is currently recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose, including people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medications to suppress the immune system;
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection;
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, cancer chemotherapy that causes severe immunosuppression, or other medications that may suppress your immune response.

At this time, CDC does NOT recommend additional doses or booster shots for people who aren’t immunocompromised.

Patients  should contact their healthcare provider about whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them at this time. For more information, please call Cornerstone Family Healthcare at 845-563-8000.

Updated August 16, 2021 

Orange County Recommends Everyone Wear Masks Indoors

Provider Blog by Dr. Avi Silber, MD, FAAP, Chief Medical Officer

In the past month, Orange County has continued to experience a significant increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta Variant. As of August 8, 2021, Orange County’s transmission rate was classified as HIGH by the CDC. In June, the county was labeled as MODERATE, and at the end of July we were at SUBSTANTIAL. Given the aggressive rise in cases of COVID-19, Orange County Department of Health is now recommending ALL PERSONS wear a mask when indoors in public.

Nationally and locally, the majority of severely ill, hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. Breakthrough cases in vaccinated people do happen, but they are much less common. The vaccine is doing what it is supposed to—preventing hospitalization, severe disease, and death.

Only 50% of Orange County residents are fully vaccinated, which leaves our community vulnerable. Our medical staff are also seeing more cases in younger, healthier people. Please continue to talk to your friends and families about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you, your friends, or your family would like to speak with a provider to discuss their concerns or would like to sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a Cornerstone Family Healthcare location, please call 845-563-8000.

A few more COVID-19 vaccine updates:

• CDC has recommended all pregnant women get vaccinated based on new data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more.

• The CDC will likely approve a booster shot of Pfizer and Moderna shortly. The boosters will be for those who are immunocompromised. Specifically, they are targeting organ transplant patients. The final list will likely include other immunocompromised diagnoses and parameters. Cornerstone will keep you informed as this evolves.

Please don’t hesitate to talk to your medical provider with any questions, remember to wear your masks and stay well.

Health Care Workers Answer COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

THE CONVERSATION: Between Us, About Us kicks off with an open and honest conversation between W. Kamau Bell and Black doctors, nurses and researchers that gets to the heart of Black people’s questions about the COVID Vaccines.

This new campaign from KFF’s Greater Than COVID and the Black Coalition Against COVID launches with 50 FAQs designed to dispel misinformation and provide accessible facts about the vaccines from Black health care workers.

The campaign is produced by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), a nonprofit organization focusing on national health issues, and presented by KFF’s Greater Than COVID public information initiative and the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC).

Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH, a pediatrician and public health advocate, and Reed Tuckson, MD, Founding Member, BCAC, co-developed the series with KFF and BCAC. Jacob Kornbluth Productions worked with KFF and BCAC to create the videos.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming (January 14 to February 5, 2021). Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decisions.

For more information, please visit: http://www.BetweenUsAboutUs.org

Register for your COVID-19 vaccine here

CDC Updates Mask Guidelines for Vaccinated Patients; Going Maskless Outdoors OK In Most Scenarios

As of April 27, 2021, CDC updated its Guiding Principles for Fully Vaccinated People, including the use of masks in outdoor settings. People are considered fully vaccinated if they are two or more weeks past their two-shot vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) or their one-shot vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

According to the CDC: “Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues.”

Key points of the updated guidelines are:

Outdoor visits and activities pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people themselves or to those around them.

Small, private gatherings and visits to public indoor spaces likely represent minimal risk to fully vaccinated people. Therefore, the level of precautions taken should be determined by the characteristics of the unvaccinated people present, who remain unprotected against COVID-19.

Although the risk of COVID-19 infection may be minimal to the fully vaccinated person themselves, vaccinated persons should be mindful of the very low potential risk of transmitting the virus to others if they become infected, especially if they are visiting with unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or visiting with unvaccinated people who have people at increased risk for severe disease in their own households.

In indoor public spaces, the vaccination status of other people or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is likely unknown. Therefore, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a well-fitted mask, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance.

Fully vaccinated people should not visit or attend a gathering or visit public settings if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status of the other people at the gathering.

Fully vaccinated people should continue to follow any applicable state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

Although the risk of COVID-19 infection among fully vaccinated people is likely low, the following could increase risk:

  • A moderate, substantial, or high level of community transmission
  • Settings with a higher percentage of unvaccinated people (including children) present or people at risk of severe COVID-19 disease
  • Visits to indoor settings especially with poor ventilation
  • The length of the visit, especially if indoors
  • Crowding or when there is a decreased ability to maintain physical distance
  • Activities that involve behaviors such as singing, shouting, physical exertion or heavy breathing, inability to wear a mask, or inability to maintain physical distancing
We will provide more information as it becomes available. For specific questions regarding your health and vaccine safety, please contact your health care provider. For more COVID-19 news, visit this page.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Paused

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Paused

Today the CDC and FDA issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution as they review the use of the vaccine in the U.S. due to an extremely rare occurrence of a blood clot in several individuals.
Effective immediately, Cornerstone Family Healthcare will follow the recommendation made by the CDC, FDA and New York State Department of Health and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while these health and safety agencies evaluate next steps.
According to the CDC and FDA, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. For people who have received the Johnson & Johnson shot within the last three weeks, please contact your health care provider and seek medical treatment if you have developed severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath. These symptoms are different than the flu-like symptoms that many people receive after receiving the vaccine.
Please be advised that these rare adverse events are not being reported with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Millions of doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been administered in the U.S. since December, and they continue to show safety and effectiveness. People scheduled to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should continue with those appointments.
We will provide more information as it becomes available. For specific questions regarding your health and vaccine safety, please contact your health care provider.

Cornerstone Family Healthcare Begins Vaccinating Staff for COVID-19

CORNWALL, N.Y. (December 23, 2020) – Cornerstone Family Healthcare is pleased to announce that it has started administering its first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to its staff on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at the Kaplan Family Pavilion in Newburgh, N.Y.

The first doses of the vaccine were given to Dr. Alban Burke, Chief of Dentistry at Cornerstone Family Healthcare; Noelle Ziemins, Family Nurse Practitioner and Cornerstone’s Chief of Urgent Care; and Enrique Bullon, a Medical Interpreter at Cornerstone.

“To be at this phase, is very exciting. It’s almost a sense of relief,” shard Ziemins. “With all the research that’s been done and the information that’s out there, you can make an informed decision to get the vaccine and feel safe doing so.”

“Everyone is nervous at the beginning of something,” shared Bullon. “It is important to get the vaccine, not only to protect myself, but to protect other people as well.”

“I’m incredibly proud of the entire Cornerstone team,” shared Linda Muller, President and CEO of Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “They have shown tremendous bravery, courage and compassion during these unprecedented times. I’m excited to say that we are one step closer to claiming victory over this pandemic.”

Cornerstone Family Healthcare received a total of 1,800 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in this first phase of distribution. Studies have shown the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID 19 through a two-dose injection, administered three weeks apart. It was authorized by the FDA and approved unanimously by the Clinical Advisory Task Force on December 18, 2020.

Cornerstone has been planning and preparing to receive COVID-19 vaccines for weeks. “I’m thrilled that the vaccine is here and have full confidence in the science behind it,” said Dr. Avi Silber, Chief Medical Officer at Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “We are prepared to do our part to educate and protect our employees, patients and community from the threat of COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to the general public. Based on guidance by the CDC and New York State Department of Health, the first New Yorkers to receive the vaccine will be high-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff), nursing home residents, nursing home staff, followed by all long-term and congregate care residents and staff, EMS workers, other health care workers, coroners and medical examiners.

“It’s important to understand that even though we are in the initial stages of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, we are not in the clear yet,” Dr. Silber continued. “We’re seeing a post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States and anticipate that number will only continue to get higher after the holidays.”

Cornerstone urges the community continues to continue taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of COVID-19: wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; stay at least 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with; limit gatherings with others who are not in your immediate household; avoid indoor gatherings; and wash your hands often.

Since March 2020, Cornerstone has tested more than 8,000 people and cared for more than 2,000 COVID-positive patients in the community—with a focus on the most vulnerable and at-risk members of our community. Cornerstone will continue to keep its patients and community informed as vaccines become more widely available to the general public, based on the recommendations and guidelines from state and federal public health officials.

For additional information, please visit:


8 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Now that there are authorized and recommended vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States, here are 8 things you need to know about the new COVID-19 Vaccination Program and COVID-19 vaccines.

1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Learn how federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe, as an additional layer of safety monitoring to increase our ability to rapidly detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.

2. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed.

Depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot 3-4 weeks after your first shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease. Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Update: August 12, 2021: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to achieve full immunity. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine only requires one dose.

3. CDC is making recommendations for who should be offered COVID-19 vaccine first when supplies are limited.

To help guide decisions about how to distribute limited initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have published recommendations for which groups should be vaccinated first.

Learn more about who should be vaccinated first when vaccine supplies are limited.

Update: August 12, 2021: Anyone ages 12 and up is eligible and supplies of the vaccines are abundant.  To get a vaccine from us, visit this page. More vaccine distribution locations are listed here.

4. There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the months to come.

The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

Update: August 12, 2021: Anyone ages 12 and up is eligible and supplies of the vaccines are abundant.  To get a vaccine from us, visit this page. More vaccine distribution locations are listed here.

5. After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.

The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what side effects to expect and get helpful tips on how to reduce pain and discomfort after your vaccination.

6. Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot. Vaccination providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

7. The first COVID-19 vaccine is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested.

Learn more about FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization authority and watch a video on what an EUA is.

If more COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved by FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will quickly hold public meetings to review all available data about each vaccine and make recommendations for their use in the United States. Learn more about how CDC is making COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

All ACIP-recommended vaccines will be included in the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program. CDC continues to work at all levels with partners, including healthcare associations, on a flexible COVID-19 vaccination program that can accommodate different vaccines and adapt to different scenarios. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments have developed distribution plans to make sure all recommended vaccines are available to their communities.

Update, August 12, 2021: All three COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) are available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. FDA.

8. COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic.

It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

We will continue to update this website as vaccine recommendations and supply change.

Last Updated August 12, 2021

Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)Division of Viral Diseases