This is a community announcement from the Tompkins County Health Department. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit news releases, email

TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The Federal Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 16 and up. Full FDA approval replaces the previous Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine and further indicates that the vaccine meets the FDA’s high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. Tompkins County continues to urge all members of the public to get vaccinated when they are able. All available COVID-19 vaccines, including the Pfizer vaccine, offer high levels of protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death. 

All available COVID-19 vaccines have been offered under an Emergency Use Authorization following previous studies of efficacy and safety. The FDA continues to review the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for full approval. The Pfizer vaccine will continue under Emergency Use Authorization for children ages 12 to 15 while Pfizer continues to collect more data required for full approval. 

Vaccines are readily available in Tompkins County, including several upcoming clinics with ongoing availability of the fully FDA approved Pfizer vaccine. For updated information on vaccine availability throughout Tompkins County, visit the TCHD website ( or call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667) during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm.  

Pfizer vaccines are currently available:  

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “This is an exciting development. Tompkins County residents started receiving vaccines in December of 2020, and all vaccines have proved remarkably effective in preventing severe disease. The vaccines, including Pfizer, are widely available, and for those who have not been vaccinated yet, I urge you to do so when you are able.” Kruppa continued, “Full FDA approval is a process designed to further communicate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and is based on data from a diverse group of 44,000 clinical trial participants.”