Ben Parker/Sun Senior Editor

Cornellians join other New Yorkers in their pursuit of acquiring a COVID-19 vaccine.

March 30, 2021

As Vaccine Eligibility Expands, Students Rush to Get First Dose

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With over 140 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered across the country so far, some members of the Cornell community are navigating registration websites and are flocking to vaccination centers. 

New York State has developed a phased vaccine distribution plan that determines eligibility  based on age, employment and other factors like pre-existing conditions. 

While many Cornell students are not yet eligible, most staff members and faculty will now become qualified Tuesday under guidelines that allow adults 30 and older to get vaccinated. The state also plans to make the vaccine available to all adults on April 6, according to a statement released Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) — a significant development for Cornell students.   

To get their doses, Cornell students have frequented the Syracuse and Binghamton sites. To assist people in getting to their appointments, Tompkins County is offering free bus rides to the SUNY Binghamton vaccination site.

Josh Figueroa ’24 recently received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the State Fair Expo Center in Syracuse. While Figueroa was pleased with how his appointment went and how organized the vaccine clinic was, he said he had some difficulty registering.

“The registration process was pretty stressful because appointments were being booked by the minute,” Figuerora said. “Initially, I had an appointment for April but luckily I received an appointment for early March.”  

After receiving the vaccine, Figuerora said he had a mild soreness in his arm for a day or two afterward, but experienced no other side effects

Sarah Levy ’24 also received the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month at the SUNY Binghamton site. 

“The staff was really helpful and efficient, and the process was very smooth and easy,” Levy said.

However, Levy also struggled to get an early appointment, saying that it was hard to input her information in time. Levy also experienced some side effects following the vaccine –– but said they weren’t something people should be afraid of.

“First I had a headache, and my arm ached, but the next night I had a fever. I felt off for about a week,” Levy said. “The shot itself is tiny. No one should be worried about it. I barely felt it.”  

Valeria Valencia ’23 is a Cornell Dining employee and received her first dose at the Ithaca Mall vaccination site, which at her time of vaccination was only open to certain workers in Tompkins County, including food service workers. 

“I would describe it as a quick and effective experience. I was in and out of the clinic in about 20 minutes,” she said.

Valencia experienced no difficulties in signing up and said her employers walked her through the sign-up process.  

“My arm was really sore for the rest of the day and I got a light fever but nothing too bad,” Valencia said.

Gabe Biers-Browne ’23 also recently received his first dose at the Ithaca Mall vaccination site because he will be a camp counselor this summer. 

“There was no line or anything and nobody was waiting at all,” Biers-Browne said. 

Ricardo Bourdon ’23 is also employed by Cornell Dining and received his first dose of the vaccine two weeks ago at the Ithaca Mall site. He said his vaccination experience went smoothly.

“The vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further and will allow us to return to some semblance of normalcy much quicker,” Bourdon said.