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COVID-19 Update: CDC Recommends Updated COVID-19 Vaccines, Contact Pharmacies for Anticipated Availability

(Ithaca, N.Y., September 20, 2023) – Tompkins County Whole Health is sharing with the community that new COVID-19 Vaccines are now available in New York State. The new Moderna and Pfizer monovalent mRNA vaccines are similar to previous COVID vaccines, offering enhanced protection against the current strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Everyone age 6 months and older is eligible to receive this new vaccine, as long as it has been 2 months since your last COVID-19 vaccination. If you have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, this new vaccine will provide you with the protections you need now. 

To schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, call your primary care provider or schedule with a local pharmacy. You can also use the Vaccine Finder to find a location near you. If you need assistance in scheduling an appointment online, dial 211 to speak with the helpline. The public is reminded that vaccine roll out and distribution can be a slow process and delays are expected. While some pharmacies may book appointments on their websites in advance of receiving vaccine, more appointments will be available as more vaccine is delivered to our community.

Dr. William Klepack, TCWH Medical Director stated, “Please stay up to date on vaccination to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The updated vaccines are effective at reducing severity of illness from current strains of the COVID-19 virus and data continues to show that the vaccines are safe. Everyone ages 6 months and older should be vaccinated. Those who are pregnant should also be vaccinated, to not only prevent illness during your pregnancy but to provide protection to your infant after birth. If you have not yet been vaccinated, now is the time to do so.”

Dr. Klepack continued, “We are anticipating another challenging winter with the triple threat of COVID-19, Flu and RSV. Please get your Flu vaccine along with your updated COVID vaccine. Those age 60 and older can now get an RSV vaccine as well. Vaccination is essential to protect yourself from these respiratory illnesses.”

Frank Kruppa, Whole Health Commissioner stated, “Let’s continue to do our part to protect ourselves, our families, and our vulnerable community members. Getting vaccinated, staying home when sick and wearing a high-quality mask in public settings are simple steps, we can take to help improve our community’s health. While mask-wearing is not mandated at this time, it is advisable as a very effective tool for decreasing spread of respiratory illnesses.”

Kruppa continued, “This is our fourth season with COVID-19 and we know that following these steps helps to reduce spread of the disease. We have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past 6 weeks and know that with reduced laboratory confirmed PCR testing and more testing done at home, the status of disease prevalence is likely to be much higher than what is reported. We urge continued caution and recommend you get vaccinated with the updated vaccines as soon as you are able, especially as we move into Flu and RSV season.”

COVID-19 Test Kits and high-quality masks for youth and adults are available at no-charge at locations throughout the county. Call the location nearest you to check current availability of these resources.

The new COVID-19 vaccine will be available in limited supply at our on-site immunization clinics for children and adults who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) and Vaccines for Adults (VFA) programs.

The VFC program offers state funded vaccines to eligible children less than 19 years of age. Your children may be eligible for VFC if they:

  • Are currently enrolled in Medicaid.
  • Have Child Health Plus.
  • Are underinsured: their insurance does not cover the vaccine.
  • Do not have insurance.
  • Are Native American or Alaska Native.

The VFA program offers state funded vaccines to eligible adults ages 19 and over. You may be eligible for VFA if you:

  • Are underinsured: your insurance does not cover the vaccine.
  • Do not have insurance.

To check your eligibility or to schedule an appointment time, call TCWH Community Health Services at 607-274-6604.

For additional COVID-19 information, please visit our website at:

Tompkins County Whole Health (formerly the Tompkins County Health Department) envisions a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealth. Get Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text, sign up here.

Media contact: Shannon Alvord,