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Rochester Makes Vaccine Available to City’s Black and Brown Residents

By Tyronda James

Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Councilmember Miguel Melendez, Jr., right, recently addressed COVID vaccination issues in the City of Rochester.

Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Councilmember Miguel Melendez, Jr. recently addressed COVID vaccination issues in the city of Rochester.

Warren said her office has received a couple hundred calls from city residents looking to get signed up for the vaccine.

“We say that Black and brown people don’t want the vaccine. That’s not true,” Warren said. “Unfortunately from this pandemic and now that the vaccine available, Black and brown and poor people in our community are being left behind.”

Warren hopes to remove some barriers by making several city employees and locations and R-Center employees available to help residents sign up for vaccines at the former Kodak Hawkeye site at 1345 St. Paul St. The site is being run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The first week of the site is reserved for appointments for city residents in ZIP codes where vaccination rates have lagged other areas in the county.

Warren wants two more weeks dedicated to city residents before the site is open to people from the suburbs.

To help city residents get to the site, RTS announced it will waive fares on all trips on Route 35 St. Paul from March 3 through May 3. The vaccination site is at the intersection of St. Paul St. and Avenue E. The outbound stop is ID 3643. The inbound stop is ID 3642. The Route 35 schedule is available at the transit center or at

The following libraries and R-Centers will host registration stations to assist residents in signing up to receive the vaccine through Wednesday, March 3:

Rochester Public Library Branches:

• Central Library Downtown, 115 South Ave., 9 a.m.–3 p.m., [Mon.–Fri.]

• Lyell Branch, 956 Lyell Ave., 10a.m.–4 p.m.,Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri.; and 12 noon–6 p.m., Thurs.

• Phyllis Wheatley Community Library, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri.; and 12 noon–6 p.m., Thurs.

• Arnett Branch, 310 Arnett Blvd., 12 noon–6 p.m., Mon.–Thur., ; and 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Fri.;

• Maplewood Community Library, 1111 Dewey Ave., 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Mon., Tue., Wed., Fri. ; and 12 noon–6 p.m., Thu. 

• Lincoln Branch, 851 Joseph Ave., 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri.; and 12 noon–6 p.m., Thurs.

R-Centers (10 a.m.–6 p.m., Mon.–Fri.):

• Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center, 485 N. Clinton Ave.

• David F. Gantt R-Center, 700 North St.

• Edgerton R-Center, 41 Backus St.

• Thomas P. Ryan R-Center, 530 Webster Ave.

• Tyshaun Caldwell R-Center, 524 Campbell St.

• Avenue D R-Center, 200 Avenue D• Carter Street R-Center, 500 Carter St.

There have been individuals who have signed up through the aid of faith based organizations. The city also plans to use community-based and neighborhood organizations to assist with vaccine registrations as well.

“Many of our elders struggle with both online registration options and getting the appointment over the phone, the digital and cultural divides are real and require digital support and strategy,” Melendez said.

“We must be intentional about our efforts to navigate people through the vaccine. … This isn’t just about racial equity. It’s about geographic equity.

Residents can check their eligibility for a vaccine by calling 833-NYS-4VAX or by going to

Anyone who is eligible is encouraged to get signed up to be vaccinated at city locations listed above.

“The system is broken. It needs to be fixed,” Warren said. “And I’m tired of talking about it, it is time that we get (vaccine) access for the people in our community that need it the most.”

Additional information can be found at