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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.

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Vaccine Icon -- Vaccines Protect Us All #7A015BOn This Page

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). 

NYS Vaccination Tracker:

Questions? Need a ride? Call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

Current Topics

Second Dose Appointments 

Please make every effort to attend your assigned second dose appointment.

If you miss your second dose appointment or can't make your scheduled appointment at the Cayuga Health Vaccination Clinic at The Shops at Ithaca Mall, please complete this form. You may complete this form if you received your first dose at another location and are unable to return to that location. Staff from Cayuga Health System will reach out to you near the due date of your second dose to set up a new appointment.

Homebound Individuals

Homebound individuals should sign up for the Vaccine Registry. Tompkins County will assist those who are homebound get vaccinated at home. Be sure to check Home Bound in the list of priority groups. 
Image of a snip from the vaccine registry form showing the check box for home bound individuals

NYS has designated the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine for individuals who are homebound. TCHD will use the J&J vaccine for this population. TCHD will communicate directly with the individual who is homebound or a caregiver based on the information provided in the registry when appointments become available.

Guidance related to individuals who are fully vaccinated.

The CDC states that an individual is fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, or >2 weeks following receipt of 1 dose of a single-dose vaccine. Reference: CDC fully vaccinated guidance.


Fully vaccinated individuals may now:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease, without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Be exempt from quarantine and testing following a known exposure or travel if asymptomatic

All individuals, vaccinated and not vaccinated. All mask, distance, and density requirements remain in effect. (Effective March 22, 2021)

  • Gatherings statewide at private residences are still limited to 10 people indoors but have been increased to 25 people outdoors.
  • Gatherings in public spaces, previously limited to 50 people, will be limited to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors.

Individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination if such travelers:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals; AND
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND
  • Are asymptomatic; AND
  • Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure.

Additional guidance for Gatherings and Weddings and Catered Events.

TOGETHER WE: Wear a mask + Stay 6-ft apart + Avoid crowds

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.
  • Complete and submit the Tompkins County Vaccine Registry Form to be contacted when doses are available.

Eligible New Yorkers are:
  • Individuals Age 16 and older who
    • Reside in New York State
    • Work in New York State
    • Study in New York State

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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. The expanded network includes doctor networks, Federally Qualified Health Centers, county health departments, ambulatory centers, pharmacies, and State-operated sites.

Cayuga Health System
WHERE: Location
WHEN: Current Clinic Schedule

The CHS clinic schedule is set weekly according to the number of available doses and the prioritized groups for that week. Please refer to the weekly dose allotment page for current information . 
DO NOT GO to the vaccination site unless you have a comfirmed appointment.

REGISTER and Certify your Eligibility
  • Appointments are required without exception at Cayuga Health System clinics.
    • Registration includes the required certification that 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 ask 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:
    • New York State residents must bring proof of identity.
    • If you are not a New York resident, you must bring proof that you work or study in New York State.
    • For minors under 18, a parent or guardian is required to identify the minor.
    • 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.

If you must reschedule or missed Your second dose appointment at the Cayuga Health Vaccination Clinic at The Shops at Ithaca Mall:

You must attend your second COVID-19 vaccine dose appointment. If due to an emergency, you missed your second dose appointment, please complete this form and staff from the Tompkins County Health Department or Cayuga Health System will reach out to you near the due date of your second dose to ensure administration of your second dose.

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

Image of poster" Need a ride to get your vaccination? Call 2-1-1

Questions? Need a ride? Call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

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New York State has designated retail pharmacies for vaccinating people age 16 and older (16+). Some pharmacies may be limited to age 18+ depending on which vaccine they are administering (e.g., Moderna is only authorized for age 18+).

Pharmacies in NYS 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.  

Kinney Drugs
Tops Friendly Market
CVS Health
Rite Aid
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 online at "Am I Eligible"
    • Register by phone at 833-697-4829
    • You can book into the future at the State-run sites
    • When selecting a location, remember that you must get your second dose at the same location as you got your first shot, even if something closer opens up.
    • Four-step instructions for NYS-operated vaccination sites click here.

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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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 February 27, 2021, three vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

These authorizations 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)

Johnson & Johnson (J&J/Janssen) (Source: CDC and FDA)
  • Phase 3 clinical trial of 39,321 participants.
  • The J&J/Janssen vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials (efficacy) at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated.
  • The vaccine had high efficacy at preventing hospitalization and death in people who did get sick. No one who got COVID-19 at least 4 weeks after receiving the J&J/Janssen vaccine had to be hospitalized.
  • Early evidence suggests that the J&J/Janssen vaccine might provide protection against asymptomatic infection, which is when a person is infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 but does not get sick.
  • CDC will continue to provide updates as we learn more about how well the J&J/Janssen vaccine works in real-world conditions.
  • Demographic information from clinical trials
    • 58.7% White
    • 45.3% Hispanic or Latino
    • 19.4% Black or African American
    • 9.5% American Indian or Alaska Native
    • 5.6% Multiple races
    • 3.3% Asian
    • 0.2% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • Sex breakdown
    • 54.9% Male
    • 45.0% Female
    • <0.1% Undifferentiated or unknown sex
  • Age breakdown
    • 66.5% 18–59 years
    • 33.5% 60 years and older
      • 19.6% 65 years and older
      • 3.5% 75 years and older

FDA web page for the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (J&J)
  • Fact sheets and other information

CDC’s Product information for Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine  

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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 agreed that 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 FAQ Addendum.

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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, authorized 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 get sick with COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. None of the vaccines authorized or under review for use in the U.S. use the live virus that causes a COVID-19 infection, so the vaccine itself cannot infect you.

Could I become infected with the Coronavirus after I get vaccinated?

It is possible for you to be infected with the virus just before or just after being vaccinated. 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 and that lag in your immune response makes it possible for you to be infected just before or just after vaccination, and get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection. An individual is considered "fully vaccinated" two weeks after receiving their second dose.

Can I spread the virus to infect others after I have been vaccinated?

While this is still being studied, there is some evidence that vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus and infect others, even while the vaccine is keeping you from becoming ill. You should continue taking all precautions when around others who are not part of your household, including handwashing, distancing, and wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth.

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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 eligibility 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?

You are required to provide proof of age or of employment, and a government issued photo ID. Required documentation is listed below. You will also be required to sign to certify that you are eligible to be vaccinated.  

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?

NYS allocates doese to Tompkins County in partnership with Cayuga Health Systems, who runs the vaccination clinics. We are only able to take registrations for the number of 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.

Some pharmacy chains are holding vaccination clinics in Tompkins County. Please refer to the section above for links to the pharmacies with stores in our area.   

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

Two of the currently authorized vaccines require a second dose to increase their effectiveness, and one just a single dose. The Pfizer vaccine second dose should be 21 days after the first shot, and the Moderna vaccine’s second dose should be taken 28 days after the first. Second doses must be given at the same location where you received your first dose. Be sure you have an appointment for your second shot before you leave the clinic where you get your first shot. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just one dose, and no future appointments are needed to become fully vaccinated.

Will there be enough vaccine for my second dose?

Second doses are distributed to clinics by the Federal Government based on the number of first doses administered. They are counted and distributed separately from the federal allotment to states. Your second dose is not dependent on the NYS allotment to counties that is announced weekly by Tompkins County.

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

There have not been enough studies to know if a delayed second shot will still reach the full effectiveness for each vaccine. 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.

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.

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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 at the NYS-operated clinics or at the Cayuga Health Service clinic. You will be asked if you have insurance or Medicare, so please bring your card(s) with you to the clinic. It is not required that you have either insurance or Medicare.

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 prove I am eligible to be vaccinated?
  • Government issued photo ID with date of birth.
  • Proof of residence in New York or proof of employment in New York.
  • If you have an insurance card and/or Medicare Part B card, please bring it with you. 
  • All individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at an NYS site must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form before arriving for their first dose. One or more of the proof of eligibility documents listed below must be provided at your vaccination appointment.
Employment Eligible

If an individual is eligible due to their employment status, they must prove they are employed in the State of New York. For residents of NYS who work outside the state, proof of residence is also required. 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.
  • display proof of work via an application (e.g., Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc.).

Alternatively, employers or organizations can provide a list of staff who meet the eligibility criteria for vaccination.

Age Eligible (16+)

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.
What questions will be asked before I get the vaccine?

Your vaccinator will ask you a series of screening questions before you are vaccinated, similar to questions you are asked when you get a flu shot. Examples are listed below. You may be asked these questions on your registration form, and again at the vaccination site.

  • Have you ever had an allergic reaction to any vaccine or shot?
  • Do you feel sick today?
  • In the last 10 days, have you had a COVID-19 test or been told to isolate or quarantine at home?
  • Are you immunocompromised or on a medicine that affects your immune system?
  • Are you pregnant or plan to become pregnant?
  • Are you breastfeeding?

Sample screening forms

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.

Explainer Video

This 2-1/2 minute (2:19) video provides the basic information about the vaccine and vaccination. Watch on YouTube or Download from Google.

This same video is currently available in these languages: Karen, Spanish

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? Need a ride? Call 2-1-1 (877-211-8667)

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References and resources:

New York State
  • NYS Guidance for NYS Vaccination Program (Effective date: 2/15/21, PDF)
  • NYS Vaccine Information for Providers
    • Guidance for the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), and Office of Addiction Services and Support (OASAS) Click Here
    • Guidance for age 16+ residents of NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)-registered facilities Click Here
    • Guidance for Medical Examiners, Coroners, and Funeral Workers Click Here
    • Guidance for Emergency Medical Services Personnel Click Here
    • Guidance for age 16+ residents of NYS OCFS-registered facilities Click Here
  • Executive Order 202.86:
    • “To ensure that the State has complete and accurate information about who is receiving the State’s currently limited quantity of vaccine …
    • “healthcare providers shall require any person who is receiving the vaccine to provide information, including but not limited to an attestation that they are a member of a specific priority group that has been determined by the Department of Health to be eligible for the vaccine …”
  • Executive Order 202.91:
    • Local health departments and county governments receive allocation for and must  prioritize essential workers in the 1b category. 
    • Hospitals receive allocations for and must prioritize healthcare workers. 
    • Pharmacies are to prioritize individuals that are 50+. The minimum age was lowered from 60+ to 50+ effective March 23, 2021. 
    • NYSDOH approved general population mass vaccination sites are to prioritize 50+ and essential workers in the 1b category.  
  • Executive Order 202.95 (2/22/21):
    • P-12 school employee vaccination reporting to their school or districk
    • P-12 school or district vaccination reporting to NYSDOH  
  • United Health Services (UHS) Southern Tier Region FAQ
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)

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“Office Hours” Live Stream Video Series

Photo graphic for the Office Hours live stream series

"Office Hours" is a series of virtual Vaccine Q&A live streams produced by TCHD in partnership with local physicians and community members. Each event is designed to offer a safe space and informative experience for attendees seeking more information on COVID-19 vaccines.

Each event is moderated by a member of the community or TCHD staff and will focus on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Attendees will be able to ask questions live or anonymously. Some sessions will be recorded for later viewing and archived on the County's YouTube Channel. Direct links to recordings are in the listings.

Registration: Online use the links below. By phone call 2-1-1 (or 1-877-211-8667). 

  • For All Community Members.
    • Open session for all community members with questions and concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. 
    • Hosted by Dr. Kathryn Rooth, Cayuga Medical Center
    • Watch the recorded event on YouTube
  • Focus on Questions from People of Color.
  • With REACH Medical.
    • Open session with REACH Medical, for community members with concerns about the vaccine. 
    • Hosted by Dr. Judy Griffin & Dr. Elizabeth Ryan, REACH Medical
    • Watch the recorded event on YouTube
  • For Parents and Caregivers.
    • Open session to answer questions and concerns from those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or parents/caregivers about the vaccine & children.
    • Hosted by Dr. Audrey DeSilva & Dr. Jeffrey Snedeker, Northeast Pediatrics

    • Watch the recorded event on YouTube  
  • For Karen/Burmese Speakers.
    • Catholic Charities Immigration Services with translation for Karen/Burmese speakers.
    • Contact Paige Cross at Catholic Charities for access to recording: (607) 272-5062; 
    • Hosted by Tompkins County Health Department Community Health Nurses Melissa Gatch, Karen LaCelle, & Director of Health Promotion Samantha Hillson
  • For Older Adults
    • Wednesday, Feb. 24, 3:00 p.m. 
    • Open session for older adults with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine
    • Hosted by Dr. Deidre Blake, MD, Cayuga Health Systems Orthopedic Program
    • Watch the recorded event on YouTube
  • Horario de Oficina en Español
    • Miércoles 24 de Febrero, 17:00 h. 
    • Con Dr. Maya Aponte, CMC, y Carolina Gilbert, RN, CMC
    • Moderado por Patricia Fernandez de Castro Martinez, Asociación Cívica Latina
    • Mira el evento grabado en YouTube
  • Q&A for communities of color
    • ​Friday, March 5, 6:00 p.m. 
    • Guest practitioner: Dr. Daryll Dykes, Upstate Medical Center
    • Moderators: Rev. Wright, Calvary Baptist Church, and Dr. Clarke, Tompkins County Office of Human Rights
    • In partnership with Calvary Baptist Church, St. James A.M.E. Zion, Baptized Church of Jesus Christ, T.C. Office of Human Rights and T.C. Dept. of Veteran Services

    • Watch the recorded event on YouTube

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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