TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—With the CDC’s recent announcement that COVID-19 booster shots be taken by all eligible individuals, the Tompkins County Health Department has announced that all three approved COVID-`19 vaccines in America—Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson will now be available in the county in the near future.

Pfizer boosters have been approved for over a month, with the health department distributing them at clinics for those who had received Pfizer shots, but Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were just given approval for booster shots last week. All New Yorkers are now encouraged to get vaccinated when they are eligible—eligibility criteria is listed at the bottom of this page.

There are no Tompkins County Healt Department booster clinics to announce at this time, but local pharmacies have been approved to administer the shots.

“The recent approval of COVID-19 booster doses for Moderna and J&J will allow all eligible individuals in our population to get this additional layer of protection when they are able,” said Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “Booster shots are available and recommended to help increase your immune response prior to a decrease in protection from the primary vaccine. All available vaccines continue to be safe and effective at protecting against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”

Those without internet or transportation can call 2-1-1 during business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to set up accommodations for transportation or appointments. For booster shots, vaccination cards are required to show when the initial vaccines were taken and prove that enough time has elapsed to receive a booster.

Based on CDC guidance: 

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series: 

·       People 65 years and older should receive a booster shot. 

·       Residents of long-term care settings age 18 years or older should receive a booster shot. 

·       People aged 18 years and older with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot. For a full list of medical conditions, please refer to the Health Department website

·       People aged 18 years and older who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to workplace or institutional setting may receive a booster shot. This may include but is not limited to the following: 

o   Healthcare workers and first responders 

o   Individuals who work in long-term care facilities and nursing homes 

o   School and daycare staff working with students who are not currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine due to age 

o   Food and agricultural workers 

o   Grocery store workers 

o   Public transit workers 

For those who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago. 

For more information from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p1021-covid-booster.html 

For more information from NYS: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/booster-doses 

The recommendations above for the COVID-19 vaccine “booster” is separate from the recommended 3rd dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for individuals who are immunocompromised. Please refer to the Health Department website for additional criteria for the 3rd dose

From the Tompkins County Health Department

Matt Butler

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