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> COVID19 2021-02-16 Vaccine Update: Doses and Priority Groups for the Week of Feb 15

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

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


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

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

COVID-19 Vaccine Update: 800 Doses Allocated This Week, Prioritized for Grocery Workers, P-12 Schools, and 65+ with comorbidities; 200 1a Doses Allocated This Week for Healthcare Workers

(Ithaca, N.Y., February 16, 2021) – The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) received a total of 800 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the week of February 15. Of the 800 doses, 200 doses are designated for people aged 65 years and older with underlying medical conditions (comorbidities). The remaining doses will be offered to grocery and P-12 school workers eligible in phase 1b.

As of February 15, New York State has instructed local health departments to continue administering allocated COVID-19 vaccine doses to essential workers and expand vaccination to individuals with comorbidities. New York State has directed local pharmacies to prioritize vaccinating those age 65 and older (with or without comorbidities), and for hospitals to continue vaccinating healthcare workers in phase 1a.

For this week, due to the limited supply of doses allocated for individuals with comorbidities, the Health Department will work directly with Titus Towers and McGraw House that serve older adults with limited income. The Health Department will work with the leadership at these two organizations to register their residents who are age 65 and older with comorbidities.  

The Health Department will send the registration links for vaccination appointments to grocery workers and P-12 school workers through employers or association networks. Each of these groups will have a pre-determined amount of time to register for appointments before the next group is provided the link. The online registration link will not be public and individuals in these groups should not forward the link to others who are not in these eligible groups. TCHD partners with Cayuga Health System to administer the doses it receives from the State.

“This week, we are locally prioritizing grocery workers, P-12 school workers, and adults who are age 65 and older with underlying medical conditions, all of whom are eligible. As we have done for the past three weeks, we will continue to communicate directly with the eligible populations. The allotment we are given from the State is still limited, so at the Cayuga Health site at the mall, we are continuing to prioritize our essential workers and those who are at the highest risk of severe complications from COVID-19,” stated Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa.

Kruppa continued, “We are making progress with 6,700 people fully vaccinated, but we look forward to receiving more vaccine, making more appointments available, and removing barriers to access.”

If you are age 65 years and older, TCHD is encouraging you to check with local pharmacies and the State-run vaccination sites. You can find more information about the State vaccination sites, and links to the pharmacy websites, on the TCHD website.

A comprehensive list of eligible priority populations can be found on the TCHD website.

Cayuga Health System has been allocated 200 doses for phase 1a populations and is communicating directly with healthcare workers.

211 has partnered with TCHD to respond to public inquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine (dial 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-8667 from any phone). This includes general information and current eligibility requirements. Due to the current high demand for vaccine, 211 staff are unable to assist with appointment registration. 211 staff also do not have access to information on future clinics or have a waitlist.

The public is encouraged to sign up for:

Prioritized eligible populations include:

  • P-12 Schools
    • P-12 school (public or non-public) or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and support staff including bus drivers)
    • Contractors working in a P-12 school (public or non-public) or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
  • Grocery Stores
    • Public Facing Grocery Store Workers, including convenience stores and bodegas
  • Adults age 65 and older with comorbidities
    • A list of eligible comorbidities and underlying conditions can be found on the Health Department website.

The next COVID-19 Community Town Hall will be on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 5:00pm. Tune in via the Tompkins County YouTube page.

A series of virtual “Office Hours” with local medical providers are being held to answer questions and address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. Find out more and register for upcoming sessions on the Health Department website.

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.