There’s a lot of information out there right now about vaccines — and with that a lot of confusion. We’ve outlined all the most up-to-date information below to help you discern if you’re eligible for the vaccine, and if you are, how to get it.
The current list of eligible individuals includes high-risk hospital staff, affiliates, volunteers and contract staff, EMS personnel, medical examiners and coroners, funeral workers, healthcare workers or other essential staff working in long-term care facilities, residents of long-term care facilities, urgent care providers, staff administering COVID-19 vaccines, front-line public health workers who have direct contact with patients, home care workers, hospice workers, individuals ages 65 and over, public safety employees, public transit workers, workers and residents of homeless shelters and all those who work in childcare and P-12 education settings. If you have questions about your eligibility, email COVID19vaccines@tompkins-co.org. If you do not use email, you can reach the Health Department at 607-274-6600.
Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible, your next step is to find a place to register. The Health Department sends out emails, Tweets, robo-calls and text alerts when new vaccination clinics are announced. At that time, you can go online and register for an appointment. Cayuga Health System is working with Tompkins County to run a large-scale clinic at Ithaca Mall in the old Sears store behind Best Buy. The location, at 40 Catherwood Dr., is fully ADA compliant and wheelchairs are available for anyone who might need one.
For those ages 65+, you can also get vaccinated at participating pharmacies. Kinney Drugs in particular is offering vaccinations when they have supply. While they are currently booked, keep an eye on their website (https://secure.kinneydrugs.com/pharmacy/covid-19/vaccination-scheduling/ny/) for when additional dates are added. They urge you not to call your local store, as those employees will not have any more information.
Wegmans, Walmart and Tops pharmacies are also authorized to give the vaccine, however no Ithaca locations are doing so at this time. However, if you’re willing to travel to Syracuse, there are Tops and Wegmans locations there that are participating. Visit https://www.topsmarkets.com/Covid19Vaccinations/ and https://www.wegmans.com/news-media/articles/covid-19-vaccines/ for more information.
The registration link for the Cayuga Health clinic can be found here: https://apps3.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?OpID=50501047.
Appointments are required without exception. After you register, write down your registration ID number before you close the form in case you don’t get a text or email confirmation; bring that number to your appointment.?
If you are unable to register online, you can have a family member or friend do it for you. If you’re one of our older residents, you can also call the Tompkins County Office for the Aging at (607) 274-5482 during business hours, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
When you show up to your appointment, bring a government issued photo ID and your insurance card if you have one (there is no co-pay and no charge if you don’t have insurance). You must also bring your proof of eligibility — if you’re eligible due to age an ID with a birth date on it is enough. If you are eligible due to your job, bring either a work ID badge with your title on it, a letter from your employer identifying your eligibility, a paystub or an active NYS-issued license in a profession that meets the eligibility criteria
There is no cost for the vaccine, and you will make an appointment for your second dose before you leave the clinic site. Appointments are four weeks after your first dose.