TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. –– After facing some initial supply issues early on, Tompkins County has again received a large number of first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to be given out this week.

Of the 1,000 doses, 300 doses are designated for people aged 65 years and older with underlying medical conditions (comorbidities) and are being offered to residents of senior living facilities across the county. The remaining doses will be offered to grocery and P-12 school workers eligible in phase 1b and healthcare workers in phase 1a.

“This week, we are continuing to locally prioritize grocery workers, P-12 school workers, and adults who are age 65 and older with underlying medical conditions, all of whom are eligible. We continue to communicate directly with the eligible populations and will be using the newly created Vaccine Registry as a part of this process. The allotment we are given from the State is still limited and we continue to use the Cayuga Health site at the mall, prioritizing our essential workers and those who are at the highest risk of severe complications from COVID-19,” Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa said in a statement.

For clarification prioritized eligible populations include:

  • P-12 Schools: P-12 school (public or non-public) or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and contracted support staff including bus drivers)
  • Grocery Stores: Public-facing Grocery Store Workers, including convenience stores and bodegas
  • Adults age 65 and older with comorbidities: A list of eligible comorbidities and underlying conditions can be found on the Health Department website

Because of the limited supply of doses allocated for individuals with comorbidities, TCHD says they will work directly with local facilities that serve older adults with limited income. The Health Department will work with the leadership at these organizations to register their residents who are age 65 and older with comorbidities.

For others that may be eligible the health department will send the registration links for vaccination appointments through employers or association networks, as well as to those on the recently created COVID-19 Vaccine Registry. Each of these groups will have a pre-determined amount of time to register for appointments before the next group is provided the link. The online registration link will not be public and TCHD has emphasized that individuals in these groups should not forward the link to others who are not in these eligible groups.

If you are age 65 years and older and do not have comorbidities or have been contacted by the health department, TCHD is encouraging you to check with local pharmacies and the State-run vaccination sites. And again, those individuals who are currently eligible for the vaccine through the county are encouraged to fill out the COVID-19 Vaccine Registry form. TCHD will use the registry to communicate directly with those who are eligible when doses become available.

The 211 number has also partnered with TCHD to respond to public inquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine (dial 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-8667 from any phone). This includes general information and current eligibility requirements. However, due to the current high demand for vaccines, 211 staff are unable to assist with appointment registration. 211 staff also do not have access to information on future clinics or have a waitlist.

For all local updates and information, continue to check the TCHD website.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com