March 30, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Dear Colleagues,

We send our best wishes to anyone celebrating a holiday this spring.

Yesterday, the Governor announced a substantial expansion of vaccine eligibility, adding persons age 30 and over effective today, March 30, and all adults (age 16 and over) as of April 6. Remember that the supply of the vaccine is still less than the demand, so be patient when you are trying to schedule your appointments.

This week, vaccinations continue in the Black Building by appointment for our faculty, staff, students, and patients. This includes persons who are aged 18 and older with eligible medical conditions, those who are 30 years and older, and persons in the essential in-person category.

To recap and summarize, the current status of vaccinations and vaccine eligibility:

  • Eligible groups now include
    • People age 30 and older
    • People age 18 and over with eligible medical conditions
    • All essential, in-person staff” this includes all personnel, including graduate students, who are working on campus, regardless of role or job title. If you fall into this category and haven’t yet been vaccinated, you should make an appointment as soon as possible through a New York City or 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.
  • Other Columbia locations for the vaccine will be opening soon. 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. 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.
  • Expansion of place of residence. The place of residence that is used as a criteria for administration of the vaccine has been changed to allow any location in New York State to vaccinate any eligible resident of New York State. In addition, if Columbia is your employer and you meet the other conditions of eligibility you may get vaccinated in one of our sites with proof of employment.
  • New travel and quarantine guidelines: Please review the updated guidelinesfor CUIMC faculty or staff who are not health care providers. If you are a health care provider please refer to this message from ColumbiaDoctors and NYP regarding travel guidelines that are effective as of March 23 and include new testing and quarantine guidelines. There are also new guidelines regarding community exposure.
  • When will the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be available for employees? The Black Building is currently providing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Important Reminder

  • Please note that CDC public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people do NOT apply to health care settings, nor to Columbia. Therefore, ALL employees, including vaccinated employees, MUST continue to universally mask while around others, and distance >6 feet from others when eating and drinking while in the workplace.

The Armory site at 169th and Fort Washington Avenue is also open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. More information is available on CUIMC’s COVID Vaccine Information page.

CUIMC Employees

  • First and second doses: Employees of Columbia, Weill Cornell, and NYP who are in category 1a (patient facing) can receive their first and second dose of the vaccine at the Armory. Appointments are not necessary. Appointments are also scheduled for second doses, but you can go to the Armory anytime on the day that you are scheduled.
  • All faculty and staff age 30 or older, and those 18 and over with certain underlying chronic medical conditions, can receive a vaccine at any of the NYC or NYS public vaccination sites or, beginning Thursday, April 1, at the Armory. Appointments are required, and scheduling information is available at the VaccineTogetherNY website.

Patient and Community Vaccinations

  • All persons 30 or over, and those 18 and over with certain underlying chronic medical conditions, are eligible to receive the vaccine and schedule their appointments at any of the NYC or NYS public vaccination sites, if they are NYS residents. In addition, appointments are available at the Armory and can be scheduled at the VaccineTogetherNY website. As of Thursday, April 1, persons age 30 and over will be able to schedule at the Armory.

The FAQ documents on the CUIMC COVID Vaccine Information page continue to be updated, so please check the site for the latest versions.

As an important reminder, please continue to wear face coverings (preferably surgical masks or other two-ply face coverings), practice physical distancing, and wash hands frequently, even after you have been vaccinated. These measures, in addition to vaccinations, minimize the opportunity for the virus and the disease to spread.

Thank you and stay safe!

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