Vaccination Update

January 19, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Vaccination is key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are encouraged that many members of the Cornell community who meet the New York state eligibility criteria have begun to receive the vaccine.

At the same time, many members of our community do not yet meet the state’s criteria for vaccination, or, in many cases, staff and faculty qualify but have not yet been able to confirm an appointment due to high demand and limited supply. Earlier today, Tompkins County Health Department announced that they do not anticipate receiving additional doses until the week of Jan. 25. As noted last week, university leaders continue to work with our partners in Albany to request that all on-campus faculty and staff be prioritized for vaccinations. At this time, we have no update to share on that request, but our efforts will continue.

It is expected that vaccine eligibility will accelerate in the weeks and months ahead as state and federal guidance changes and as additional vaccine supplies are expected to be released. This newsletter will provide important vaccination news and updates on a regular basis. Please continue to refer to the resources listed in the footer below for the latest information.


Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Gary Koretzky
Vice Provost for Academic Integration

Upcoming Events

  • Faculty and Staff Town Hall: Planning for Vaccines and Spring Semester Jan. 22, 2 p.m.
    Join a virtual forum to hear the latest information about vaccines and spring semester planning. Employees are invited to submit questions in advance by 12 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 21.

Vaccination Eligibility & Scheduling for In-Person Instructors

Tompkins County Health Department has provided clarification about our employees’ eligibility for vaccination based on in-person instruction. In addition to those who teach in classrooms, faculty and staff who provide in-person instruction in other venues, such as laboratories and residential housing, are eligible. If you meet these criteria and wish to be vaccinated, you should seek the needed documentation by doing the following:

Phased Distribution in New York State

The state is currently vaccinating those who are eligible as part of Phase 1a and 1b. We encourage you to continue to refer to New York state's eligibility tool to determine your eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination. The website also contains information regarding state-operated vaccination sites, which are expected to expand as more vaccine supply is made available.

Resources for Employees Residing Outside New York State

For employees residing outside New York state, refer to your state health department for the latest updates or review the following CDC guide for more information on your state's policies.

Common questions: After I receive the second dose of the vaccine, will I still need to wear a mask and continue with surveillance testing?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic (e.g., wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding large groups and unnecessary travel). Additionally, Cornell’s requirements for surveillance testing for vaccinated individuals must continue with regular surveillance testing at their assigned frequency. While we know that vaccinated individuals are protected from clinical disease, there are no data yet to indicate if vaccination prevents infection with and transmission of virus.

Learn more: COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs.

Additional Resources

General comments or questions can be sent to the university's COVID Support Center.

This newsletter is sent regularly to Cornell employees to provide timely updates on COVID-19 vaccination and related matters.