ITHACA, N.Y.—Cayuga Medical Center has now acquired both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the federal government. Though some staff members had received the vaccine at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira last week, the hospital is now able to vaccinate them on-site, according to an announcement today.

The vaccinations are being provided through the Cayuga Health System. It is unclear how many doses were provided to CMC at this time, or how many staff members will be able to get a vaccination immediately. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had laid out previously that frontline healthcare workers, along with staff and residents of nursing homes, should be the first group of people to receive the vaccination, with others to follow. The Southern Tier region is receiving 4,500 doses of the vaccine in the initial wave of medicine being shipped statewide.

“We are pleased to have received both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at Cayuga Medical Center,” stated Dr. Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “We have strategically identified patient facing clinical and non-clinical employees as part of this first phase and much like our attention to increased testing, we will remain vigilant with our administering of the vaccines in accordance with county and New York State Department of Health guidelines.”

Dr. Tyler Kelly, a doctor in osteopathic medicine, was officially the first staff member to receive an on-site injection of the vaccine.

“It feels pretty good, it’s nice to have this added layer of protection while we continue to care for patients,” Kelly said in a press video issued by the hospital to commemorate the occasion. “(I’m) ready to start turning the page on the pandemic and trying to be ahead of things now instead of being reactionary.”

Recipients will have to receive a follow-up shot in three weeks.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com