Bess Adler/The New York Times

Eligibility for COVID booster shots includes those who live or work in a residential educational setting.

October 26, 2021

Administration, Tompkins Health Department Encourage Booster Shot for Those Eligible

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The University is encouraging Cornellians to get a COVID-19 booster shot if they are eligible, Vice Provost for Academic Integration Gary Koretzky and Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellbeing Sharon McMullen wrote in a Monday email to the Cornell community. 

“Cornell is not requiring members of our community to receive a booster at this time; however, as breakthrough cases continue to occur, we encourage you to consider receiving a booster once eligible,” wrote Koretzky and McMullen. “Boosters are readily available for eligible individuals.”

This message comes as individuals who work or live in a residential educational setting, along with those over age 65, are eligible for the booster under current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Koretzky and McMullen recommended looking for information on where to get a booster shot on the Tompkins County Health Department website or by using the website.

According to the CDC, eligible groups among those who received the Pfizer or Moderna shot also include people 18 and over with approved underlying medical conditions and those who face increased exposure to COVID-19 because of their work or institutional setting. Everyone over 18 who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over two months ago is eligible for a booster shot. Booster shot recommendations are different from the third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine that is recommended to immunocompromised people who may not have full protection from the standard course of vaccination.

Possible booster eligible workplaces include health care facilities, long-term care facilities, grocery stores, public transit and schools and day care centers where students are ineligible for COVID vaccination because of their age. In addition to being part of an eligible group, people need to have received their Johnson & Johnson dose at least two months ago or their final Moderna or Pfizer dose at least six months ago to get a booster shot. 

“Booster shots are available and recommended to help increase your immune response prior to a decrease in protection from the primary vaccine,” Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County public health director, said in a Monday press release. “All available vaccines continue to be safe and effective at protecting against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.” 

While Cornell isn’t requiring the booster shot or for Cornellians to document their booster, Koretzky and McMullen encouraged those who received a COVID-19 booster shot to upload documentation to the Daily Check website.

“Though not required, it allows the university to adapt to evolving public health guidelines and to understand the level of protection of our campus community,” Koretzky and McMullen wrote.

In addition to encouraging COVID-19 booster shots, Koretzky, McMullen and TCHD recommend getting the flu vaccine.

“Public health guidance indicates that there is no risk to receiving a COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine simultaneously or soon after one another,” Koretzky and McMullen wrote. 

Cornell is offering on-campus flu vaccination clinics for anyone in the Ithaca campus community until Nov. 11. Walk-ins are allowed, but Cornell recommends signing up in advance.