March 17, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to update you on two issues: expansion of vaccination eligibility and updates to travel quarantine.

We are pleased to inform you that vaccine eligibility criteria have expanded again, and in a direction that promises significant benefit to many of our faculty, staff and students.

As you read this note, please bear in mind that demand for vaccination continues to exceed supply, in New York City and around the country, so being eligible doesn’t necessarily mean you can be vaccinated immediately. However, doses are becoming increasingly available, and there are many sites where you may be able to make an appointment if eligible. These include sites operated by the City and State (see below). In addition, as previously announced, Columbia-operated sites in Manhattan will be coming online soon.

With vaccine supply remaining limited, our intention, with respect to “essential in-person staff,” is to give priority for appointments on the basis of the number of days per month that an employee is working on campus. Those physically present 12 or more days per month will receive the highest priority. For other eligibility groups, including in-person instructors, the number of days per month is not a consideration.

You may also be able to schedule an appointment at the Armory on 168th Street by going to

  1. Expansion of eligible groups: Last week there were significant expansions in the definition of eligible groups. These include persons age 60-64 and, very importantly for our community, “all essential, in-person staff.” Previously, the State made “in-person college instructors” eligible. Now, all personnel, including graduate students, who are working on campus, are considered eligible, regardless of role or job title. If you fall into this category and haven’t yet been vaccinated, you should seek to make an appointment as soon as possible through a New York Cityor New York State vaccination site. Faculty, staff and students can check their eligibility by going to the New York State COVID-19 vaccine website. Please bring proof of Columbia employment to the vaccine site—this could be your ID badge or a pay stub.
  2. Columbia locations for the vaccine: We are in the process of establishing four Columbia-operated locations in Manhattan. We will be dependent on the State and City for doses, but it is our hope and expectation that Columbia faculty, staff and students, who are eligible based on New York State criteria, whether by virtue of age or underlying conditions (comorbidities) or status as “in-person college instructors” or “essential in-person staff,” will be able to get vaccinated at no out-of-pocket cost. In the coming days we will have information available on how to schedule a vaccination at one of the new Columbia sites. In the meantime, check the University's COVID-19 vaccine page for the latest information. The following locations will be opening soon:
    • 650 W 168th Street
    • 2702 Broadway
    • 2920 Broadway (Lerner Hall)
    • 51 W 51 Street
  3. Updated travel quarantine requirements. Effective April 1 domestic travelers – those arriving in New York from another state – will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival in New York. The State is still recommending quarantine and other preventative measures as a precaution. Travelers arriving from other countries are still subject to CDC and New York State/City quarantine requirements. For more information on these travel requirements and recommendations, see the University’s COVID-19 Public Health Protocols website.

We will continue to update you as we move ahead in the coming weeks. Please check the Columbia University COVID-19 website for updates.

Gerry Rosberg
Senior Executive Vice President

Donna Lynne
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC
University COVID Director