Tompkins County COVID vaccine doses for essential personnel, comorbidities

Tompkins County received the first 1,170 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the week of March 8.

Of the 1,170 doses, 700 are for phase 1b essential workers and 470 for people with underlying conditions. Doses for Essential Workers 1b will no longer be segregated by industry and will be offered to a random selection of individuals who have enrolled in the Tompkins County COVID-19 Vaccine Registry.

The Tompkins County Health Department has also used the registry to communicate directly with people with comorbidities. All available appointments have been communicated to eligible individuals and have been filled for this week.

The health department continues to urge members of the community who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to enroll in the registry, and everyone to ensure that friends and family members who are eligible are also recorded. Caregivers, family members or friends can complete this register on behalf of someone who does not have internet access.

People without a computer and/or internet access can also dial 2-1-1 (877-211-8667) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and someone can check them in on the phone. If listed in the registry, people who do not have access to a computer will be called by a staff member from 2-1-1 or the County Office for Aging to register for an appointment. The registry does not guarantee a vaccination appointment.

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Health officials are also urging everyone on the registry to pay close attention to their emails and phones, as appointment links will be shared directly with those who are eligible. To ensure that clinics are filled, the health department may send links to more people in a group than the number of appointments available. If you receive a link but no appointments are available, you will continue to receive a link in the coming weeks.

“We need 100% of those who are eligible to get vaccinated when an appointment becomes available for you,” said Frank Kruppa, director of public health for Tompkins County. “We also ask that people continue to take care of their friends and family members by sharing information about the registry and the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

He continued, “This pandemic has put a strain on us all, and we are nearing the end, but we must all continue to do our part.”

As of March 7, New York State reported that 22,565 Tompkins County residents had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Tompkins County Health Department said it administered 13,674 of those first doses at local clinics in partnership with the Cayuga Health System.

“As vaccinations increase, it’s critical that everyone continues to wear masks when out in public and keep their distance from each other,” Kruppa said. “We know these vaccines are effective in keeping people healthy, but we don’t know how they affect people’s ability to spread disease.

Kruppa continued, “The CDC recently issued more guidance on fully vaccinated individuals, but TCHD continues to follow guidance from the New York State Department of Health and we will communicate any changes to the community.”

The Tompkins County Health Department hosted a series of virtual office hours for COVID-19 vaccine questions and answers with local physicians to answer questions about vaccines. Events were held for communities of color, Spanish speakers, seniors, parents and caregivers among broader conversations.

Health officials are urging anyone with questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness to watch an event or explore the health department’s website.

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Michelle J. Kelley