Vaccination Update

January 28, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Vaccine distribution in New York state is evolving quickly, and changes are expected to continue as federal and state governments address shortages of available vaccines. For the latest information, check the Tompkins County Health Department website regularly.

Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo shared that 96 percent of allocated first vaccine doses have been administered across the state and that next week’s allocation is uncertain. These significant limitations are prompting the state to alter its vaccine distribution plan.

In an update earlier this week, Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa shared the following:

“New York state has instructed local health departments to prioritize administration of allocated COVID-19 vaccine doses to essential workers, as defined by the state, in phase 1b. The Tompkins County Health Department received a total of 600 doses for the week of January 25 and are offering the available doses to first responder agencies, corrections staff, and workers in PreK-12 schools. New York state has instructed local pharmacies to prioritize vaccinating those age 65 and over, and for hospitals to prioritize continuing to vaccinate healthcare workers in phase 1a.”

As more information is available, we'll continue to keep our campus community informed about availability of vaccines.


Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Gary Koretzky
Vice Provost for Academic Integration

Common Questions: I meet the state's eligibility criteria. When can I expect to be vaccinated?

Currently, Tompkins County is prioritizing PreK-12 schools, first responders and corrections staff and encouraging those age 65 and older to get vaccinated at our local pharmacies or a state-run site. There is no state-operated vaccination center in Tompkins County; the closest is in Broome County. For those at Cornell whose positions make them eligible to be vaccinated but who are not in these priority areas, you will not have the opportunity to make an appointment for a first dose at this time. However, vaccine will be readily available for those who have received their first dose and are expecting the second. We will continue to monitor the situation and remain in contact with our partners at Tompkins County Health Department and Cayuga Health System.

If you initially indicated that you will be teaching in person this semester and your plans have changed so that you will now be teaching remotely, we thank you for understanding that your eligibility for the vaccine has been paused by state and county guidelines. When the state expands eligibility, we will be sure to let the campus know.

We are all anxious to move beyond the restrictions caused by the pandemic, but, until there is widespread distribution of the vaccine, other safety measures are the best way to protect ourselves. As you go about your activities on campus, please keep these guidelines top of mind: Wear a mask, maintain distance and limit duration.

10 Tips to Remember

  1. Your mask must cover both your nose and your mouth to be effective.
  2. Limit close interactions (nearer than six feet) with others outside your household. Individuals meet criteria for mandatory quarantine when their exposure to someone who has tested positive is 10 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. To reduce your chance of being exposed or placed on mandatory quarantine, limit interactions to a minimum duration.
  3. Maintain physical distance as much as possible.
  4. When eating with someone else in the same space, keep a distance of at least six feet and be sure to put your mask back on as soon as you finish eating. Exposure is greatest when masks are off in a closed space.
  5. Restrict vehicle occupancy with those outside your household to one person.
  6. Limit time spent at time clocks and, in all cases, ensure masks are worn and physical distance is maintained. Do not linger around the clock.
  7. Be mindful of interactions during shift changes. Wear masks, maintain distance where possible and limit duration to under 10 minutes in a 24-hour period.
  8. Whenever possible, take breaks outdoors.
  9. Indoor breaks should occur in a space that permits maintaining distance; masks are to be worn, except when eating or drinking.
  10. Spending time with your colleagues is very important. Distancing and masking are essential to doing so safely, which is why eating together poses a greater risk. It is safest for you and others to eat alone when possible. If not possible or practical, be consistent with whom you eat and take breaks. Keep the group small – no more than two to three colleagues. Maintaining a small group limits the number of your colleagues who may be taken out of work if someone tests positive.

General comments or questions can be sent to the university's COVID-19 Support Center.

Fact: Continue to wear a mask after vaccination for COVID-19 in order to limit community spread of the virus. Work Smarter

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.