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> COVID19 Vaccines Protect Us

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING of our community is our top priority. Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) is working closely with community partners to prevent and respond to the evolving novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As of January 23, New York State has instructed Local Health Departments to prioritize administration of allocated COVID-19 vaccine doses to essential workers in phase 1b. For the week of January 25, The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) will offer the available doses to first responder agencies, corrections staff, and workers in P-12 schools.

TCHD will reach out to others eligible in phase 1b as more vaccine becomes available. Registration will be coordinated through the targeted organizations and entities and will not be available to the public.

NYS has designated pharmacies to vaccinate the 65+ age group, and appointments are limited (info here). Everyone eligible under Phase 1b may make an appointment at one of the NYS-operated vaccination sites (info here).

Get local updates from the Tompkins County Health Department regarding COVID-19 and vaccine distribution in our community

NYS COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline: Open 7AM - 10PM, 7 days a week, for scheduling vaccination appointments for eligible New Yorkers: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). 

Questions? Call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

Get Vaccinated!

Vaccination Clinic Information

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WHO: Current Eligibility

Individuals being vaccinated must produce proof of eligibility.

  • If an individual is eligible due to their employment status, they must prove they are employed in the State of New York.
  • If an individual is eligible due to their age, they must produce proof of age and proof of residence in New York.
Phase 1a: Ongoing
  • An individual's eligibility does not expire as the plan moves from phase to phase
  • Click Here for ongoing eligibility

Phase 1b: Beginning January 11, 2021 (Source, 1/19/21)
  • Age 65 and older
    • Pharmacies and physician networks and practice groups are vaccinating only individuals from this population.
  • First Responder or Support Staff for First Responder Agency
    • Fire
      • State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
      • Local Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
    • Police and Investigations
      • State Police, including Troopers
      • State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers
      • SUNY Police
      • Sheriffs' Offices
      • County Police Departments and Police Districts
      • City, Town, and Village Police Departments
      • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments
      • State Field Investigations, including DMV, SCOC, Justice Center, DFS, IG, Tax, OCFS, SLA
    • Public Safety Communications
      • Emergency Communication and PSAP Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
    • Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel
      • Court Officer
      • Other Police or Peace Officer
      • Support or Civilian Staff for Any of the Above Services, Agencies, or Facilities
  • Corrections
    • State DOCCS Personnel, including correction and parole officers
    • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers
    • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers
    • State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • 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)
    • Contractor working in a P-12 school (public or non-public) or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
    • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group childcare
  • College
    • In-Person College Faculty and Instructors
  • Childcare
    • Employees or Support Staff of Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Group Childcare Settings
    • Licensed, Registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Provider
  • Public Transit
    • Airline and airport employee
    • Passenger railroad employee
    • Subway and mass transit employee (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
    • Ferry employee
    • Port Authority employee
    • Public bus employee
  • Grocery Stores
    • Public Facing Grocery Store Workers
  • Homeless Shelters
    • Individual living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of your household.
    • Individual working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents.
Still not sure if you are eligible?

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Photo of CHS-TCHD Vaccination Clinic Floor -- Photo Credit Cayuga Health System CHS-TCHD Vaccination Clinic at the mall -- Jan 7 2021 -- PHOTO CREDIT CAYUGA HEALTH SYSTEM

HOW: Vaccination Clinics

New York is expanding its provider network for vaccine distribution. To assist with Phase 1b vaccine administration, the expanded network will include doctor networks, Federally Qualified Health Centers, county health departments, ambulatory centers, pharmacies, and State-operated sites.

All vaccine providers in New York State must follow New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance regarding vaccine prioritization, as well as any other directives.

Cayuga Health System
WHERE: Location
  • Ithaca Mall, 40 Catherwood Dr., Ithaca. Side entrance to the old Sears store behind Best Buy.
  • Fully ADA compliant and wheelchairs are available.
  • Appointment required. 
WHEN: Current Clinic Schedule

Additional clinic times will be listed as information becomes available. 
DO NOT GO to the vaccination site unless you have a comfirmed appointment.

REGISTER and Certify your Eligibility
  • REGISTER HERE and set an appointment time for Cayuga Health System clinics. Appointments are required without exception.
    • Includes the requirement that you certify you are “part of a priority group identified for COVID-19 vaccination …”
    • Tip: Write down your registration ID# before you close the registration form. Then you will be sure to have it just in case you don’t get a text or email confirmation. Bring your registration ID# to your appointment.
    • Tip: If you are unable to register online, please have a family member or friend complete the online form. Other ways to register will be available as soon as possible.
  • Bring Identification to your appointment:
    • Government issued photo ID
    • Insurance card and/or Medicare Part B card if you have coverage (Note there is no out-of-pocket cost or co-pay for anyone)
    • Your appointment registration number
  • Bring Proof of Eligibility to be vaccinated in the current phase
    • If you are eligible due to age, you should bring a picture ID that includes your date of birth, and proof you are a resident of NYS. For other accepted forms of ID click here
    • If you are eligible due to employment or profession, bring one of the following as proof you are employed in NYS:
      • an employee ID card or badge
      • a letter from an employer or affiliated organization
      • a pay stub, depending on the specific priority status
      • Active NYS-issued license in a profession that meets the eligibility criteria
    • Click here for more details.
  • Cost: There is no cost or co-pay for the vaccination. Still, if you do have insurance or Medicare Part B, please bring your insurance or Medicare card with you.
  • 2nd Dose: You will make an appointment for your second dose before you leave the clinic site. Staff at the site will assist you if needed. Appointments are 4 weeks after your first dose, and must be at the same vaccination site. Bring your registration card or number to your appointment.
    Note to Students: if you got your first dose out of county and want to get your second dose here, contact your school's health center. There is no guarantee you will be able to get it here.
  • Transferring Registration: Appointments are not transferrable. If you cannot make your appointment time, you should cancel and re-register sometime in the future.  
  • Step-by-step process at the CHS clinic click here.

 Front view photo of the entrance for vaccine clinics at the mall 
Click here to open in Google Maps 

Questions? Call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

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New York State has designated retail pharmacies for vaccinating people age 65 and older (65+). Pharmacies in NYS are receiving only a limited supply of vaccine from the state, and may only make appointments based on the number of doses they are being allocated at any given time. 

If you have questions, please refer to the pharmacy websites. TCHD and 2-1-1 will not have information about vaccination clinics at pharmacies.  

CVS Health
Kinney Drugs
Rite Aid
  • Homecare, healthcare workers, or customers that are deemed eligible by the Department of Health in the municipality you reside during the current phase of the rollout.
  • Scheduling queue.
  • Information, Updates, FAQ 
Tops Friendly Market
Wegmans Pharmacy

For all questions about clinics at any of the pharmacies listed above, please contact the pharmacy through their website. TCHD will not have information about vaccination clinics at pharmacies.

New York State Operated Vaccination Sites
  • There are 13 State vaccination sites. Click here for the full list.
  • All vaccinations are by appointment only. Register at NYS "Am I Eligible"
  • Nearest Sites
    • SUNY Binghamton, 10 Gannett Drive, Johnson City, NY 13790
    • State Fair Expo Center: NYS Fairgrounds, 581 State Fair Blvd Syracuse, NY 13209
    • Dome Arena (DBA Roxbury Dome Partners LLC), 2695 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14467

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NYS Vaccination Distribution Phases

NOTE: All of the following are subject to change without notice. The information below is being updated as new information is available at the NYS Phased Distribution web page

An individual's eligibility does not expire as the plan moves from phase to phase.

Priority Groups Continuing to Be Eligible (1a): (Source, 1/19/21)
  • Healthcare Workers
    • High-risk hospital and FQHC staff, including OMH psychiatric centers.
    • Health care or other high-risk essential staff who come into contact with residents/patients working in LTCFs and long-term, congregate settings overseen by OPWDD, OMH, OCFS and OASAS, and residents in congregate living situations, run by the OPWDD, OMH, OCFS and OASAS.
    • Staff of urgent care provider.
    • Staff who administer COVID-19 vaccine.
    • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care, or other staff in a position in which they have direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff),
      • This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who work in private medical practices; hospital-affiliated medical practices; public health clinics; specialty medical practices of all types; dental practices of all types; dialysis workers; diagnostic and treatment centers; occupational therapists; physical therapists; speech therapists; phlebotomists and blood workers; behavioral health workers; midwives and doulas; and student health workers.
    • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Certified NYS EMS provider, including but not limited to Certified First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Technician – Critical Care, Paramedic, Ambulance Emergency Vehicle Operator, or Non-Certified Ambulance Assistant.
  • County Coroner or Medical Examiner, or employer or contractor thereof who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids.
  • Licensed funeral director, or owner, operator, employee, or contractor of a funeral firm licensed and registered in New York State, who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids.
  • Home care workers and aides, hospice workers, personal care aides, and consumer-directed personal care workers.
  • Staff and residents of nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and adult care facilities.
Phase 1b (begins Jan. 11)
Phase 1c
  • Not yet available from NYS.
Phase 2
  • Not yet available from NYS.
Phase 3
  • Not yet available from NYS.

NYS Priority Phases were originally published in the October 2020 NYS COVID-19 Vaccination Program book (page 29), and outlined 5 Phases.

Questions? Call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

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Continue to follow these safety guidelines while the community gets vaccinated
— Click any image for information on that topic —

  • Distance--Please do not form lines or groups. Keep 6 feet of distance at all times
  • Density--Avoid entering crowded rooms or areas. Reduce occupancy to allow for proper distancing
  • Face Covering--You must wear a face covering when in public buildings and outdoor spaces around others
  • Hand Hygiene--Wash hands well and often. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often
  • Symptoms--If you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or body aches, stay home and get tested

Frequently Asked Questions

Vacunas: Preguntas Frecuentes (PDF)

The Tompkins County Health Department is urging everyone in our community to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as it becomes available. The vaccine is being distributed in phases detailed here on this web page. The Health Department and Cayuga Health System will frequently update the community as the phases progress.

Widescale vaccination is critical for developing immunity in our community. Herd immunity or community immunity means a high percentage of people are vaccinated and their immunity against the virus will stop the transmission as well as protect those who are unable to get the vaccine. Experts suggest that at least 70% of the population need to be vaccinated to stop the spread. The Tompkins County Health Department is encouraging 100% of those who are able, to get vaccinated.

Everyone has a part in ensuring that the community stays healthy and safe. In addition to continuing to wear masks, maintain distance, wash hands, and follow gathering guidance, we can all encourage our friends, family, and neighbors to get vaccinated when it is available. Follow this webpage and the Health Department’s social media channels for updates on the vaccine in our community.

Safety of the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same rigorous review that all vaccines must follow in the U.S. As of December 30, 2020, two vaccines have been approved by the FDA: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine.

These approvals followed three rounds of clinical trials with thousands of participants with a diverse range of race, age, and other demographics.

Pfizer/BioNTech clinical trial info (95% effective after second dose):
  • Phase 2/3 clinical trials had about 43,400 participants who participated at 152 clinical sites across the globe, 130 of which were in the United States.
  • Half of participants received the vaccine, the other half received a placebo (assigned randomly)
  • Demographics of participants:
    • 49% female, 51% male
    • 83% white
    • 9% Black or African American
    • 28% Hispanic or Latinx
    • 4.3% Asian
    • 0.5% Native American/Alaska Native
  • 35% of participants were clinically obese
  • 21% of participants had at least one coexisting condition
  • The median age was 52 years old
  • The age range of participants spanned from 16 to 91
Moderna clinical trial info (94.5% effective after second dose):
  • Phase 3 clinical trials had about 30,400 participants from the United States
  • Half of participants received the vaccine, the other half received a placebo (assigned randomly)
  • Demographics of participants:
    • 48% female, 52% male
    • 79% white
    • 10% Black or African American
    • 21% Hispanic or Latinx
    • 5% Asian
    • 0.8% American Indian/Alaska Native
  • 22% of participants had at least one high-risk condition
  • 25% of participants were health care workers
  • Median age of 52
  • The age range of participants spanned from 18 to 95

Moderna Fact Sheet for recipients and caregivers (PFD from the FDA website)

These vaccines were produced so quickly. How do we know they are safe?

It is the job of the U.S. vaccine safety system to make sure that all vaccines meet its highest standards. The new COVID-19 vaccines have been evaluated in tens of thousands of individuals who volunteered to participate in clinical trials that were conducted according to rigorous standards required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Through this process the FDA determined that the newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines meet its safety and effectiveness standards. Therefore, the FDA has made these vaccines available for use in the United States under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization. The FDA and the CDC continue to monitor the vaccines and the vaccination process for effectiveness and adverse events.

In New York, the State’s independent COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force, made up of prominent health experts, also approved these COVID-19 vaccines as safe and effective. These principles are number 1 and 2 of the State's Guiding Principles for vaccination distribution and administration.

Will these new vaccines continue to be monitored for problems?

Yes. Even though no safety issues arose during the clinical trials, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners will continue to monitor the new vaccines for serious side effects that may not have been seen in clinical trials. Any unexpected side effect will be quickly studied to determine if it is an isolated incident or a broader safety concern.

How will experts evaluate the COVID-19 vaccines in real-world conditions?

Experts are working on many types of real-world studies to determine vaccine effectiveness, and each uses a different method. CDC will use several methods because they can all contribute different information about how the vaccine is working.

  • Case-control studies.
  • A test-negative design study.
  • Cohort studies.
  • Screening method assessments.
  • Ecologic analysis assessments.

Details about the different types of studies are in this PDF.

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Safety of Being Vaccinated

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Side effects that have been reported with the Pfizer vaccine include:

  • Injection site pain
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Injection site swelling
  • Injection site redness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling unwell
  • Swollen lymph nodes

There is a remote chance that the Pfizer vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction including difficulty breathing, swelling of your face and throat, rapid heartbeat, a rash all over your body, dizziness and weakness. Severe allergic reactions usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting vaccinated. For this reason, individuals are asked to stay at the clinic site for a 15 to 30 minute observation period after they get their shot. If you experience a severe allergic reaction, seek medical attention or call 9-1-1.

Should I get the vaccine if I have had a coronavirus infection?

Yes. The science shows that the vaccine provides better and longer-lasting protection than the defenses your body builds up when you were infected. If you are sick with COVID-19 now, you must wait and finish the 10-day isolation period before you make an appointment to be vaccinated.

Will getting vaccinated prevent me from getting sick with COVID-19?

Most likely. The first two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, have 90-95% efficacy at preventing the disease when administered the way the manufacturer has specified. Some may develop a mild case of COVID-19. Researchers believe the current vaccines will also provide protection against the emerging UK variant, though the effectiveness rate may not be as high, and higher coverage rates may be needed.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Currently, there are limited data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for women who are pregnant. While studies have not yet been done, based on how mRNA vaccines work experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant. mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with the cell's DNA because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell. Cells break apart the mRNA quickly. Ongoing studies and clinical trials will provide more insight on the potential risks of mRNA vaccines to a pregnant woman and her fetus.

Key considerations pregnant patients can discuss with their healthcare provider include:
  • The likelihood of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Risks of COVID-19 to them and potential risks to their fetuses
  • What is known about the vaccine: how well it works to develop protection in the body, known side effects of the vaccine, and lack of data during pregnancy

Observational data demonstrate that, while the chances for these severe health effects are infrequent, pregnant women with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness. Additionally, pregnant women with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm births.

COVID-19 vaccination considerations for women who are breastfeeding

There are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. People who are breastfeeding and are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated. If they have questions around getting vaccinated while breastfeeding, a discussion with a healthcare provider might help them make an informed decision.

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If I get vaccinated, will I test positive on future COVID-19 viral tests?

No, approved vaccines will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

Could I become infected with COVID-19 if I get a vaccine?

No. None of the vaccines approved or under review for use in the U.S. use the live virus that causes a COVID-19 infection.

While different types of vaccines work in different ways, all trigger the body’s immune system to develop a type of white blood cell to fight a specific virus. This typically takes a few weeks after vaccination and that lag in your immune response makes it possible for you to be infected with the virus just before or just after vaccination, and get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.

What should you tell your vaccination provider before you get the Pfizer vaccine?

Be sure the vaccination provider is aware of all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have any allergies.
  • Have a fever.
  • Have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner.
  • Are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system.
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • Are breastfeeding.
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine.
Can I spread the virus to infect others after I have been vaccinated?

This is still being studied.

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Vaccination Timeline

Following the Federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidance on distribution phases, New York State has amended the CDC phases to accommodate the State's population. Phases are outlined above.

What is the timeline for moving from one phase to another?

The timeline is largely dependent on the supply of vaccine that is allocated to the County. New York's supply of vaccine is determined by the federal government, and the State then portions available doses to Regions based on population. New York is mandating social equity and fair distribution among eigible priority groups to ensure fair treatment and proportionate allocations both by group and by Region. The Tompkins County Health Department will notify the community of who should sign up to be vaccinated through press releases and updates to this web page.

What happens if I miss the period of time that my group becomes eligible for vaccination?

The Phase dates are only to mark when a group may begin to be vaccinated. There is no end-date for a group to be vaccinated. However, the Health Department urges everyone to be vaccinated as soon as possible after they become eligible. Getting vaccinated is crucial to keep you, your family, and our community healthy and safe.

How do I get certified as being in one of the groups that is being vaccinated?

In the early phases of vaccine distribution individuals will be required to provide proof of employment and a government issued photo ID. Required documentation is listed below.

If you have questions about whether you meet these criteria after you read the guidance or have questions about registration, you may email the Tompkins County Health Department at

Why is the county not pre-registering people for the vaccine?

We are only able to take registrations for the doses that we have available. The supply of vaccine is unpredictable and therefore we are unable to guarantee slots ahead of time. This is impacted directly by the State’s allocation system.

Do “leftover vaccines” or open appointments occur at a site if an individual does not show up for their vaccination?

No. There are pharmacists on site who carefully manage vaccine supply, including storage and administration. Each dose is accounted for by an audited system and stored properly for administration to the currently eligible population, so there are very few doses left over after any given clinic. Any that might be are used for priority populations — healthcare and first responder — who are contacted directly through their employer.

How often will I need to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

Both of the currently approved vaccines require a second dose to increase their effectiveness. The Pfizer vaccine second dose should be 21 days after the first shot, and the Moderna vaccine’s second shot should be taken 28 days after the first.

What happens if I don’t get the second shot on time?

The schedule for doses of each vaccine is based on data from clinical trials. Everyone who receives a first dose of the vaccine should get the second dose according to schedule in order to provide the best possible protection against the disease.

There have not been enough studies to know if a delayed second shot will still reach the full effectiveness or each vaccine. When each vaccine is taken on their recommended schedule, they are extremely effective in preventing COVID-19.

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Vaccination Process

There is no residency requirement for being vaccinated at a Tompkins County facility.

How much will it cost to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

There is no charge or co-pay to be vaccinated. However, if you have health insurance or Medicare Part B, bring your card with you to the clinic.

How is the vaccine given?

The vaccine is given as an injection in the arm. Currently, the vaccine requires two doses to reach the 90-95% effectiveness shown in clinical trials. The doses are given 3 or 4 weeks apart, depending on which vaccine you are given. Your second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose.

After your first dose, you may get a vaccination card to show you when to return for your second dose. Remember to bring your card when you return.

What do I need to bring to the vaccination site?

Individuals being vaccinated must produce proof of eligibility. If an individual is eligible due to their employment status, they must prove they are employed in the State of New York. Such proof may include:

  • an employee ID card or badge,
  • a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or
  • a pay stub, depending on the specific priority status.
  • alternatively, employers or organizations can provide a list of staff who meet the eligibility criteria for vaccination.

If an individual is eligible due to their age, they must produce proof of age and proof of residence in New York State. To prove New York residence, an individual must show:

  • One of the following: State or government-issued ID; Statement from landlord; Current rent receipt or lease; Mortgage records; or
  • Two of the following: Statement from another person; Current mail; School records.
  • For age, such proof may include:
    • Driver’s license or non-driver ID;
    • Birth certificate issued by a state or local government;
    • Current U.S passport or valid foreign passport;
    • Permanent resident card;
    • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship;
    • Life insurance policy with birthdate; or
    • Marriage certificate with birthdate.

No one will be vaccinated without proof of their occupation, age, or priority status, as applicable, as well as proof of residence or employment in New York. Executive Order 202.86 imposes monetary penalties for any provider vaccinating an individual who has not certified eligibility or for whom the provider otherwise has knowledge the individual is not a member of a priority group. (Source: NYS Guidance, 1/19/2021)

What do I do when I get to the vaccination site?

Step-by-step through the Cayuga Health System vaccination clinic (from the CHS patient packet):

  1. Upon arrival to the Clinic, complete temperature check and screening questions with screener.
  2. Proceed to check in and receive Vaccine Consent/Admin Form and Patient Packet.
  3. Fill out administration & consent form while in waiting area. Once you have completed your paperwork a waiting room attendant will get you to your vaccinator.
  4. Obtain vaccine and complete necessary demographic entry into state system.
  5. Your vaccinator will then walk you to an observation RN where they will discuss the time that your observation period is over and you will hand your vaccine card over to them. This is your "ticket out" once your monitoring period has completed.
  6. Next, proceed to a registration attendant to complete your registration and then proceed to an empty chair in the observation area.
  7. While waiting, use the instructions in your discharge information, please register for V-safe using the link provided.
    1. If you do not have an iPhone you will be provided with an iPad on site.
    2. register for V-safe is a smartphone-based tool from the CDC that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Your participation in CDC’s v–safe makes a difference — it helps keep COVID-19 vaccines safe.
  8. After registering for V-safe, please also register for your 2nd dose appointment using the QR code that will be provided.
    1. Please write your scheduled date/time on your Vaccine Card
  9. Review Observation checklist with RN prior to discharge and exit facility.

What should I do to keep myself safe while waiting to get vaccinated and after I get vaccinated?

Continue to cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay 6 feet away from others who are not in your household, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often. All of these precautions must continue as you wait for the second dose and as we wait for a majority of the population to be vaccinated. Everyone must continue to use all the tools available to us to stop this pandemic as experts continue to learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide us.

Continue to follow these safety guidelines while the community gets vaccinated
— Click any image for information on that topic —

  • Distance--Please do not form lines or groups. Keep 6 feet of distance at all times
  • Density--Avoid entering crowded rooms or areas. Reduce occupancy to allow for proper distancing
  • Face Covering--You must wear a face covering when in public buildings and outdoor spaces around others
  • Hand Hygiene--Wash hands well and often. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often
  • Symptoms--If you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or body aches, stay home and get tested

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Overview for Tompkins County

The TCHD has been planning and practicing the distribution of Medical Countermeasures (MCMs) during public health emergencies for many years, and is preparing to manage the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

  • Medical Countermeasures (MCMs) can include vaccines, antiviral drugs, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Tompkins County has submitted their COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to NYS DOH as of mid-November and it's currently pending review. The plan directly references Tompkins County's Public Health Emergency Preparedness Plan and Medical Countermeasure (MCM) Plan.
  • Initial planning meetings have been held with both Cayuga Health System and Long-Term Care Facilities to plan for initial phase of distribution to Phase I priority populations as outlined in the NYS Vaccination Plan.
  • Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with potential Open Points of Dispensing (POD) locations have been reviewed and locations contacted to confirm availability to serve as a site for COVID-19 vaccination. Additional open POD locations have been brainstormed in each municipality.
  • While progress is being made in the development of a vaccine, a timeline, amount of vaccine, or other information for Tompkins County has not been released by the NYS DOH.
  • When a vaccine is available, it is likely that first responders, health care workers, and residents of long-term care facilities will have priority access. (See NYS Phased Distribution Plan, below.)
  • Safety protocols continue to be important to protect our community: wearing a face covering, hand washing, maintaining distance, avoiding unnecessary or non-essential gatherings and travel.
Questions? Call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

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References and resources:

New York State
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Other sources
Professional Associations

If you have questions about whether you meet these criteria after you read the guidance or have questions about registration, you may email the Tompkins County Health Department at, or call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

Flu Vaccine

Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu shot to be immunized against influenza now. Visit your local pharmacy or your health care practitioner today. More info is here.

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