January 11, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Dear Colleagues,

As you have heard, Governor Cuomo has announced an expansion of the COVID-19 vaccination program to Phase 1b, which includes individuals age 75 and older, education workers (through grade 12), and public transit and public safety employees. This morning, the governor added college instructors teaching in-person to the 1b category. More information about this will be forthcoming.

Letters have been sent to patients over the age of 75 years to inform them that ColumbiaDoctors, Weill Cornell Medicine, and NewYork-Presbyterian are preparing to vaccinate our patients, age 75 and older. They will be able to schedule a vaccine appointment later this week through the Connect patient portal as appointments are made available. Appointments will be required for patients.

Vaccination of NYP and Columbia employees continues and is still not complete for individuals who directly interact with patients and for all care team members and staff who provide in-person support to those delivering patient care (Phase 1a).

Students beginning clinical rotations are also eligible and are strongly encouraged to get their vaccine. Eligible students should come this Monday through Wednesday to be vaccinated.

We ask again that you please do not come to be vaccinated if you have not received specific instructions from your supervisor or department leadership. New York State requires self-attestation that must be signed at the vaccination site attesting that a person is eligible for vaccination based on the current phases of distribution.

For today only, Monday, January 11, there is a change to the hours and location for vaccine distribution at CUIMC. All 1st and 2nd dose vaccines will be administered in the Myrna Daniels Auditorium in Milstein Hospital, from 6 am to 9 pm.

Starting tomorrow, 1st doses for individuals in Phase 1a will resume in Alumni Auditorium in the William Black Building, 650 West 168th Street (corner of 168th and Fort Washington Avenue) from 6 am to 9 pm. All 2nd doses will be administered in the Myrna Daniels Auditorium in Milstein Hospital.

Columbia employees who work at the Allen Hospital and Lawrence Hospital can be vaccinated there, on-site, 6:45 am to 4 pm through Saturday this week.

Things to Keep in Mind for Second Dose Vaccinations (Individuals in Phase 1a) 

Please come, when possible, for your second dose at the scheduled time as it will be critical in helping NYP make staffing and vaccine supply decisions based on those appointments, but please do keep to your scheduled day. Please note that many second dose appointments are now generically being made at 7 am on the day it is due, but you do not need to come at 7 am. You can come anytime that day but again please make sure to come that day.

Second dose reminders will be sent via Connect. For questions about where/when to go for your second dose on each campus, please go to the Employee Information section on the VaccineTogetherNY.org site. This link also contains information about how to sign up for Connect.

We know that many of you have family members and friends who are also frontline workers at other organizations and may be wondering how they can be vaccinated. The Governor announced an expansion of locations where eligible New Yorkers can get COVID-19 vaccines at sites located throughout the city. Please see this website for further details for eligible groups, locations, and scheduling: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-vaccine-locations.page

As of today, over 33,000 staff at NewYork-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell, and Columbia have been vaccinated. There have also been over 5,200 second doses administered. First dose vaccinations include over 12,500 individuals on the Columbia Campus who are working in patient care areas, with nearly 6,200 of them Columbia employees and students. The CDC reports that there have been over 6.6 million people who have received their first dose of the vaccine.

Please join us for Town Halls scheduled today and tomorrow to answer any questions you may have.

CUIMC Vaccine Town Halls With Drs. Anil Rustgi, Melissa Stockwell, Magda Sobieszczyk, Olajide Williams, Mary D’Alton, and Donna Lynne

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The FAQ documents on the CUIMC COVID Vaccine Information page continue to be updated so please check the site for the latest versions. Below are the Questions of the Day:

I had the Pfizer vaccine and had a reaction 8 hours after the shot. My reaction included chills, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. I was fine after 24 hours. Should I expect my next shot to be worse?

The reactions you had and their limited duration are well described following the COVID-19 vaccine and are evidence that your body is mounting an immune response. It is unpredictable if you will have the same reactions following the second dose. Reactions after the second dose are still described as mild to moderate, last a short time, and respond to Tylenol and to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

I am currently out on maternity leave. My manager told me I am eligible to come and get the vaccine while on leave but I would like to time getting my second dose on my date of return to work. I know that there are two types of vaccines and the wait between doses is either 21 days or 28 days. Is there a way to know which vaccine I will get when I come in for my first dose, so I can time my return date?

You may receive the vaccine while out on leave. There is no way of knowing which vaccine you will be receiving on the date you come in. Please note, this schedule will be updated weekly so check it as you are closer to the day of coming in.

Thank you!

Magda Sobieszczyk, MD, MPH
Chief of Infectious Diseases and Co-Chair of the CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee

Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH
Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health and Co-Chair of the CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee