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> COVID-19 2021-02-03 Vaccine Q&A Virtual Office Hours Series Announced

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

For media inquiries:
Samantha Hillson, 607-274-6714, or
Dominick Recckio,

Images available for press click here.

Health Department Announces Virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A Office Hours Series

(Ithaca, NY – February 3, 2021) – The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) is announcing a series of virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A “Office Hours” in partnership with local physicians and community members. Each virtual event is designed to offer a safe space and informative experience for attendees seeking more information on COVID-19 vaccines. During each event, attendees will have the ability to ask questions live or anonymously. Each event will be moderated by a member of the community or TCHD staff and will focus on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. For vaccine logistics refer to the TCHD website.

General open sessions will be offered along with sessions that are directly designed for affinity groups or to be held in languages other than English. The community is invited to review the descriptions of the events listed below, and identify which sessions may be best for you. Some sessions will be recorded for later viewing and archived on our YouTube Channel.

You can register for the following office hours by clicking the link below:

  • General COVID-19 Vaccine Office Hour, open session for all community members with questions and concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, Tuesday, February 9, 12pm
    • Hosted by Dr. Kathryn Rooth, Cayuga Medical Center
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Office Hour, open session to answer questions and concerns from people of color about the vaccine, Wednesday, February 10, 12pm
    • Hosted by Dr. Jada Hamilton, Cornell Health
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Office Hour, open session hosted by REACH Medical for community members with concerns about the vaccine. The mission of REACH is to serve individuals with respectful, equitable, access to compassionate healthcare in a setting where they will not be stigmatized or judged based on drug use, homelessness, or any other issue that may cause less than adequate care in today's healthcare environment, Tuesday, February 16, 12pm
    • Hosted by Dr. Judy Griffin & Dr. Elizabeth Ryan, REACH Medical
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Office Hour, open session to answer questions and concerns from those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or parents/caregivers about the vaccine & children, Wednesday, February 17, 12pm
    • Hosted by Dr. Audrey DeSilva & Dr. Jeffrey Snedeker, Northeast Pediatrics
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Office Hour, for Catholic Charities Immigration Services with translation for Karen/Burmese speakers, Wednesday, February 17, 2pm; Contact Roe Si at Catholic Charities for registration details: (607) 272-5062;
    • Hosted by Tompkins County Health Department Community Health Nurses Melissa Gatch, Karen LaCelle, & Celeste Rakovich

If you would like to join by phone, you can also use the registration links above or please call 2-1-1 (or 1-877-211-8667) and let them know which office hours you would like to register for. They will then be able to give you the call-in number for the session.

Additional office hours are being planned and will be announced by the Tompkins County Health Department. If you would like to receive email invitations, please sign up using this form:

  • Additional Office Hours for communities of color
  • Office Hour in Spanish
  • Office Hour in Mandarin
  • Office Hour for Older Adults
  • Office Hour for Young Adults
  • Office Hour for Military Veterans Community

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa stated, “The vaccine is one of the best tools we have to stop this disease from spreading in our community. Vaccines are for everyone and are designed to protect us all. We realize that some people are hesitant to receive the vaccine, and we invite you to ask questions of local health experts so that everyone has timely and accurate information.” Kruppa continued, “In addition to the information that we are making available to everyone, it is our goal to create spaces specifically for people of color in our communities who have historically been marginalized by the healthcare system. We invite everyone who is interested to join us for these office hours.”

Tompkins County Chief Equity and Diversity Officer, Deanna Carrithers stated, “This effort by the Health Department will offer a valuable bridge to many communities. We have heard from people from different backgrounds who are seeking more information and expressing concern that systems like the healthcare system do not serve their needs or populations. These ‘office hours’ will give physicians and community leaders the opportunity to answer questions, respond to concerns, and clarify the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.”

TCHD has published a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions web page, including up-to-date information on the safety, effectiveness, and local distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines. To-date, over 7,400 vaccine doses have been successfully administered in Tompkins County.

For local updates and information, check the TCHD website

The Tompkins County Health Department is your partner for a healthy community. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TompkinsHealth.