ITHACA, N.Y.—After a weeklong lag in vaccination delivery, the Tompkins County Health Department has announced that it has received 600 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine but has still not scheduled any clinics for mass vaccine administration. That is because New York State has ordered local governments to prioritize first responders, primary school staff and corrections workers.

Pharmacies have been told to prioritize vaccinating people 65 and over, and hospitals have been toldt o prioritize vaccinating healthcare workers—although Cayuga Medical Center has repeatedly been recognized for having vaccinated 100 percent of its staff already, so whether or not their allocations (if they have been delivered) will be reallocated is unclear.

“The Health Department will release appointments to the prioritized groups listed above in phases,” said the health department’s announcement. “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 links will be distributed through employers or association networks in each category.”

Those in the prioritized groups are asked not to forward the registration link to others.

“The lack of vaccine supply and the constraints placed on us by New York State make it more difficult to equitably distribute the doses we have to our vulnerable community members,” said Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “We are adhering to the State guidance and hope that we will receive increased allotments and relaxed restrictions in the coming weeks. For this week, we are locally prioritizing P-12 schools, first responders and corrections staff. We know that when our children attend school in-person it greatly impacts other health indicators and development, including access to nutritious food, interaction with trained teachers and social workers who can address mental health needs, and important social engagement with peers. Our first responders arrive at unpredictable situations and are at risk of exposure to the virus.”

Those 65 and over should check in with local pharmacies and look at the state’s vaccination sites.

The full list of eligible populations for this round of vaccinations include:

Prioritized eligible populations include:

  • 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
  • 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 o 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)
    • Registered school-aged childcare programs operating in school settings

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at