ITHACA, N.Y.—The first group of Cayuga Health workers have received the COVID-19 vaccine, as healthcare workers in Tompkins County begin to receive their first doses of the long-awaited shots.

Cayuga Health announced Wednesday that their employees had begun receiving vaccinations at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, N.Y., which had offered Cayuga Health a certain number of doses to begin. Arnot Ogden was the recipient of the first shipment of the coronavirus vaccine, according to CMC’s news release.

The hospital stated that Dr. Keith Lambert, who works as an Emergency Room Physician, RN Kate Rosa and Dr. Sushilkumar Satish Gupta, who is a pulmonologist and critical care specialist, were among the first to receive their first shots on Dec. 18.

More vaccinations will continue throughout the week.

“We are pleased to be able to offer the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to our frontline workers at this time,” said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “We know this is only the beginning of this fast-evolving process and we will remain diligent by doing our part for our own health care providers and within the community during the fight against this global pandemic.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out a vaccination priority list earlier this month that is now beginning to evolve, starting with frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents and workers. Cayuga Health is coordinating the vaccination distribution program in Tompkins County, while United Health System in Binghamton is the lead medical group in the Southern Tier region.

Matt Butler

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