Vaccination Update

March 5, 2021


Tompkins County has received increasing numbers of vaccine doses in recent weeks, and we are hopeful that this trend will continue. After prioritizing K-12 educators for a time, the county is now including some in-person higher education professionals in those eligible to receive vaccine locally. We are pleased that we are now able to provide supporting documentation for job-based eligibility to all those in the Cornell community who are engaging in in-person instruction, and those working on site to directly support in-person instruction.

While the previous higher education eligibility was limited to those engaged in in-person instruction, the eligibility has now been expanded to include those who directly support in-person instruction and those who provide regular residence life programming to students and who live on campus in student housing facilities.

Newly eligible individuals should submit a request for vaccination document by using the Vaccine Eligibility Attestation Tool. Additional information surrounding scheduling, documentation, what to bring, and a link to the Tompkins County Vaccine Registry is also available on the Eligibility Attestation Tool site. If you meet this updated criterion and have already submitted a vaccination eligibility request that was denied, you should submit another request using the attestation tool.

We strongly encourage all individuals eligible for vaccination, who have not yet received their first dose, to sign up for the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) COVID-19 Vaccine Registry. This registry is the primary way for individuals to find out about vaccine distribution in the county. TCHD also released a video this week explaining more about the registry. Signing up for the registry does not guarantee a vaccine appointment, and notification will be in alignment with TCHD’s weekly prioritization of doses.

On Tuesday, TCHD announced that they received a total of 2,470 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the week of March 1. Of those doses, 1,570 are designated for people aged 65 years and older, and 300 are for any individuals with comorbidities (underlying health conditions). The remaining 600 doses are designated for workers in Phase 1b, of which TCHD has prioritized P-12 school workers and in-person college instructors.

All those eligible in Phase 1a or Phase 1b based on job-related criteria are eligible in Tompkins County, regardless of where they live. Eligible individuals should continue to seek available vaccine appointments through pharmacies and state-run sites if they are able. A full list of eligible populations is available on the Tompkins County website. If you are not currently eligible for the vaccine, you can sign up to receive health department updates when other groups become eligible.

Once you have been vaccinated, it is important to keep the documentation provided to you – don't lose it! Scan your vaccination card or take a photo for backup and put it in a safe place.

Eligible for vaccination? Sign up for the registry. Contact the COVID-19 Support Team with questions.


Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Gary Koretzky
Vice Provost for Academic Integration

Common questions: Are the vaccines safe?

Three different COVID-19 vaccines are currently being distributed in the U.S., produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

All data currently available indicate that all of the vaccines are safe. Thus far, no serious long-term side effects have occurred and no study participants who received vaccine died of COVID-19. Some individuals do experience minor side effects that reflect the body’s immune response beginning; a tiny number of individuals have experienced allergic reactions and have required immediate treatment, which has been successful.

Before approval, clinical trials were completed across the globe with tens of thousands of participants in each trial. The FDA used the data from these trials to evaluate the vaccines’ safety and efficacy to make the emergency use determinations. The vaccines will continue to be studied — under CDC surveillance and by other means — to learn about longer-term safety and effectiveness. Since these vaccines were first approved for use, tens of millions individuals around the world have been immunized, further supporting their safety.

You can learn more about how the vaccines work, what side effects may be experienced, and what protection is offered on the Cornell COVID-19 website.

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.