Joanna Moon/Sun Graphic Designer

Many students drove or took public transportation to get to off-campus vaccination sites.

May 4, 2021

Delay in On-Campus Vaccine Sites Drives Students to Far-off Clinics

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From driving an hour away to Binghamton to taking the bus to Ithaca Mall, students have been using any means possible to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

The University held its first COVID-19 vaccination clinic for students at Bartels Hall on April 23 but, for many, the clinic came too late. Many took it upon themselves to get vaccinated at off-campus sites before the clinic.

All New York residents 16 years and older became eligible to sign up for the vaccine on April 6, but almost two weeks passed before the University announced its first on-campus vaccine clinic. Some students expressed frustration with the lack of support from the University.

“I got vaccinated at the Cayuga Medical Center site at Ithaca Mall a couple of weeks ago, after reaching out to Cornell persistently through email for weeks and never hearing back,” Jordan Crayton ’24 said.  

Alex Neoman ’24 also felt unsupported in the process, saying she went through the process of signing up and getting her vaccine by herself. 

Before appointments opened up to all college students at the local vaccination site in the Ithaca Mall and on-campus, students reported trekking to vaccination sites as distant as Syracuse, Binghamton and Potsdam. Others searched nearby pharmacies that had the vaccine only to be frustrated by trying to to find transportation to those clinics. 

“I had to have a friend drive me to a CVS in Cortland,” said Valentina Xu ’22.

Others were not as fortunate, opting for public transportation and special bus services to reach off-campus clinics.

“We received information from Cornell about getting free rides through OurBus to go to Binghamton and Syracuse for vaccinations, but they said nothing about going to Ithaca,” said Simone Green ’24. 

Some of those who knew that they could get the vaccine at the Ithaca Mall took the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit.

“I’ve gotten the first dose of Pfizer at the Ithaca Mall,” said Ariel Marxena ’24. “I was able to use my student pass for the TCAT. 

While some are dissatisfied with the administration’s slow rollout of its first clinic and lack of communication, other students felt that the University was helpful in its handling of the vaccinations by providing documents to prove to state officials that they are essential workers before eligibility was rolled out to everyone over the age of 18. 

Marxena said she was able to sign up for her vaccine at the Ithaca Mall through a recommendation from one of the University’s emails.

Cornell will hold its second clinic at Bartels Hall on May 6, administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For those students who received their first dose of Moderna at the campus clinic on April 23, the University will offer second doses at a follow-up clinic on May 25.