Photo from Joseph Spector/USA Today

TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Students from all three local colleges will see their first official opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after all three schools were approved for distribution with College Student Vaccination Day this week as the state hopes to vaccinate college students before they return home for summer.

The first deliveries are being made, presumably, this week and the event will be held Thursday, April 15 at the Shops at Ithaca Mall vaccination site, run by Cayuga Health System and the Tompkins County Health Department. To sign up for an appointment, students must enroll in the Tompkins County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Registry—even if previously registered—and indicate that they are a student at either Cornell University, Ithaca College or Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Appointments are not guaranteed and registration must be completed by 6 p.m. on Monday, April 12. Students will then be randomly selected from the registry and those students will be notified on April 13 about available appointments. As for how many total vaccinations are being allocated, that will likely be made clear in the health department’s weekly allocation announcement on Tuesday. Presumably, there will be more vaccination clinics either at the mall or at each school designated for college students.

“If selected, be sure to speak with your faculty members if you need to miss a class due to a conflicting appointment time,” the announcement states, seemingly not guaranteeing that students will be allowed to miss class for the vaccine, which they cannot reschedule to another time on Thursday. If students are not selected to receive the vaccine this week, they will be notified of future opportunities and available appointments through the vaccine registry.

The clinic will use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a single-shot dose that takes two weeks for the recipient to develop full immunity; other vaccines require two shots taken three to four weeks apart. Cornell’s announcement seems to indicate that the schools will continue to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the foreseeable future.

Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press event on Monday, April 12, at Suffolk University in Long Island to announce the state’s intention to provide vaccine allocations to private universities and colleges in the SUNY system starting the same day, with the specific goal of getting students

“We need herd immunity, we need every New Yorker vaccinated,” Cuomo said. “That includes New York’s young people and students, and we’re going to make that a reality.”

Matt Butler

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