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New phase of COVID-19 vaccination distribution starting this week, but availability unclear

TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—After some initial confusion, the Tompkins County Health Department has confirmed that the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution will begin tomorrow, Jan. 11.

The new phase, termed 1B by the state and county, will include teachers and education workers, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers, and people 75 years of age and older. The vaccination clinics continue to be held at the old Sears location at the Shops at Ithaca Mall, at 40 Catherwood Road in Ithaca. Those who were already eligible in Phase 1A can still receive vaccinations. More clarification is needed from the state to detail the full list of eligibility in Phase 1B, the health department said—perhaps defining “education workers” more thoroughly, as well as other facets that are not yet known.

The health department does note in its announcement, though, that they are awaiting the delivery of additional vaccination doses. Beyond Monday’s distribution, which is fully scheduled already, further availability of vaccination doses will be dependent on deliveries made by the state, according to Tompkins County Director of Communications Dominick Recckio.

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“Phase 1B expands to a large portion of our population and will take weeks to fully vaccinate,” said Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “We will continue to add more clinics as we receive additional vaccine doses from the State, but we ask the public for patience. We all need to get the vaccine to protect our families and community, however, it will take time.”

Over 2,100 people have already received at least their first vaccination dose in Tompkins County.

If you do not have an appointment already scheduled, the health department is saying to not go to the clinic expecting to be vaccinated, as appointments are required. The health department said that more vaccination sites will be established once more vaccinations are allocated.

More information is available at the county’s COVID-19 vaccination webpage. Otherwise, those interested can sign up for email updates at this link. Those without internet access, but who meet eligibility criteria, can use friends or family to sign up for vaccination clinics.

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