TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Two more vaccination clinics will be held this week at Ithaca Mall, allowing those people who received Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to get a booster shot if they are eligible.

The clinics, held at the Ithaca Mall, are only for people who received Pfizer. There’s been recent talk about the FDA allowing people who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson to receive the Pfizer booster, and potentially vice versa, but that is not yet in effect locally.

Vaccination Clinics: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose Only: 

·       Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 3:00pm – 7:00pm 

o   https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?DateID=CE563CEC238C02DAE0530A6C7C168C7C  

·       Friday, October 22, 2021 from 12:00pm – 4:00pm 

o   https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?DateID=CE56527F09330106E0530A6C7C16CACE  

Appointments can also be made by calling 211 or 1-877-211-8667 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Those scheduling should have the date of their second vaccination ready.

“For those who are eligible and at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, we are encouraging you to get your booster shot,” 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 series. We’re encouraging everyone with questions to reach out to your healthcare provider, and for those who are eligible and ready, we are hosting several upcoming booster shot clinics. All available vaccines continue to be safe and effective at protecting against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”  

Kruppa continued, “We encourage everyone to continue to take precautions and use the tools we have to prevent infection: wear masks, get tested if you have symptoms or are a close contact, and get vaccinated.” 

The health department has held five booster vaccination clinics, giving out over 600 shots, according to the department. Pharmacies and medical offices are also administering the shots.

The health department reiterated that the booster shots are different from third shots for those receiving Moderna or Pfizer who are immunocompromised. Booster doses for those who received Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines are under review.

From the health department:

The following populations are currently eligible to receive a booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their original Pfizer COVID-19 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 50-64 years 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 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot. For a full list of medical conditions, please refer to the Health Department website.  

·       People aged 18-64 years 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 

TCHD is reminding the Tompkins County community of the precautions that can be taken to stop the spread of COVID-19: 

·       Tompkins County continues to be under a mask advisory. Wear a mask while indoors and around others. 

·       Vaccines are readily available. Get vaccinated when you are able and share accurate information with others who are not yet vaccinated. For information on vaccines and local availability, visit https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health/covid19popup  

o   Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and are fully vaccinated with one of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) are advised to get a third dose of vaccine. Immunocompromised individuals should talk to their provider about a third dose, for more information visit: https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health/covid19vaccinefaq#3rddose  

·       Get tested if you are symptomatic or a close contact of a positive case. For more information on testing, visit: https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health/factsheets/coronavirussamplingsite#whentogettested  

o   If you are a fully vaccinated close contact of a positive case, TCHD guidance states that you should avoid contact with unvaccinated or immunocompromised individuals for the full 14-day period, even if you test negative.  

Matt Butler

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