Vaccination at Cornell
New York state has developed a phased approach to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. As of April 6, all New York state residents at 16 and over are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Cornell intends to require vaccination for students returning to Ithaca, Geneva and Cornell Tech campuses for the Fall 2021 semester. At this time, Cornell is not requiring our employees to be vaccinated; however, we strongly encourage all members of our community to be vaccinated when eligible. Vaccination is key to the resolution of this global pandemic, and we hope that all take this opportunity to protect yourselves, as well as our community.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for Cornell students?
With the recent announcements of expanded vaccine eligibility in New York and other states, and increasing vaccine production, it is likely that all members of our community will be able to obtain vaccination sometime this spring or summer. Accordingly, Cornell intends to require vaccination for students returning to Ithaca, Geneva, and Cornell Tech campuses for the fall semester. Medical and religious exemptions will be accommodated, but the expectation will be that our campuses and classrooms will overwhelmingly consist of vaccinated individuals, greatly reducing the risk of infection for all. Individuals who are not able to obtain vaccination prior to arrival for the fall semester, or whose vaccination is not recognized by New York state, will be expected to be vaccinated as soon after their arrival as possible, and Cornell is investigating ways to facilitate this process.
Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for Cornell employees?
At this time, Cornell is not requiring our employees to be vaccinated. Vaccination is key to ending the global pandemic, and we hope that everyone takes this opportunity to protect themselves, as well as our community.
Are all members of the Cornell community required to submit proof of vaccination?
It is critical for the university to have accurate data on the extent of community protection from COVID-19 in order to make informed decisions about safe campus operations. We have now established an easy way for members of the Cornell community to register their vaccination status through the Daily Check using the COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination tool. Beginning April 15, such registration will be required of all Cornell students, faculty, and staff once they have completed the dose schedule for their vaccination. Once we have better data about the degree of community protection that has been achieved, we will offer additional details regarding full campus reactivation in a safe and responsible manner.
How can I find out whether I’m eligible for COVID vaccination?
- Check your eligibility for vaccination in New York state according to New York's phased vaccine rollout. If you are working on campus, complete the state Am-I-Eligible Form and check the “in-person instruction” box to verify your eligibility.
- Check your eligibility for vaccination in Tompkins County (may differ from NY state's eligibility requirements due to limited local supply).
Note that as of March 10, 2021, all essential, in-person staff at institutions of higher education are now eligible for vaccination in New York state. This includes all on-campus faculty, staff, and student workers who are currently working in-person, regardless of job title or job function. This expansion does not apply to anyone who is working fully remotely.
I am eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. How do I get vaccinated?
Schedule an appointment. You may go to any vaccination site that has available appointments. Scheduling approaches vary by site, by county, and by state. Please be aware that vaccine appointments are very limited at this time. Be sure to schedule your first dose with the second appointment in mind. If you schedule an appointment locally but plan to depart at the end of the semester, it is critical to allow enough time to complete the full required vaccination protocol before leaving, as you may be unable to receive the second dose in another state or country. There are 21 days between doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 28 days between doses of the Moderna vaccine, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one dose.
- If you are eligible for vaccination in Tompkins County, you can complete the Tompkins County Health Department's COVID-19 Vaccine Registry to be contacted when doses become available. (Individuals should continue to seek available vaccine appointments as described below.)
- To schedule an appointment at the Ithaca Mall at 40 Catherwood Drive (Old Sears store side entrance behind Best Buy), visit Cayuga Medical Center's COVID Vaccine webpage. (Must be eligible for vaccination in Tompkins County.)
- To schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy, refer to the Tompkins County Health Department website for information. (Must be eligible for vaccination in Tompkins County.)
- To schedule an appointment at other vaccination sites in New York state by region, visit COVID-19 Vaccine: What you Need to Know. (Must be eligible for vaccination in New York state.)
- If residing outside NY state, visit your local health department website to learn more about vaccination appointments in your area.
Complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination form. Prior to receiving the vaccination, you must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form can be completed online. Once complete, you will receive a submission ID, or you can fill out the form at your vaccination site.
- Note: You must have an appointment scheduled prior to completing the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form.
Take all necessary documents with you to your appointment. You will be required to take the following documents to your appointment:
- Government-issued photo ID.
- Insurance card (there is no co-pay and no charge if you do not have medical insurance; however, insurance is being billed if you have it).
- If you are working on campus, please use the Cornell Vaccine Eligibility Attestation Tool to generate your eligibility letter. If you do not have this letter, and go to the Tompkins County site at the mall, you will be required to complete an attestation form at the vaccination site.
- If you are eligible for vaccination based on underlying health conditions, proof of eligibility will be required. In Tompkins County, proof of eligibility is a self-attestation: you can download and complete the self-attestation (PDF), or complete it at the vaccination site. If you are getting vaccinated outside of Tompkins County, you should consult the local vaccination website for documentation requirements. Students who need a letter as proof of comorbidities should refer to Cornell Health's website for instructions.
How do I get to my vaccine appointment?
Tompkins County is offering free shuttle bus service to the mass vaccination site at SUNY Binghamton for eligible students who wish to be vaccinated. Find more information, including a schedule, on the Tompkins County website.
Can I receive my vaccine on work time?
Employees will be provided paid time should their vaccination appointment fall during scheduled work time. This time off will include travel to and from the distribution site.
Will the COVID-19 vaccination cost anything?
While the vaccine is free, insurance will be charged an administration fee. There is no copay, the cost is not subject to deductible and there is no charge for anyone without health insurance.
If I have been vaccinated, do I need to continue with surveillance testing?
Yes. 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. So, those vaccinated will continue regular surveillance testing at their regularly assigned frequency. Continue to follow the Behavioral Compact and wear a mask, avoid large groups and practice physical distancing. Keep your vaccine card in a safe place, take a photo of it for reference, and upload your proof of vaccination to the Daily Check.
If I get vaccinated, will I test positive on future COVID-19 viral tests?
Approved vaccines will not cause a positive viral test, which are used to determine whether a person has current infection. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
If I get my first vaccine dose in another state, can I get my second dose in New York?
At this time, New York state will not provide a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to those who received a first dose in another state. If you have received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in a state other than New York, it is recommended that you remain in that state until you receive your second dose. If you travel back to Ithaca before receiving the second dose and need to return home, you will need to follow the travel exemption process, including obtaining pre-approval to travel and following return quarantine and testing protocols.