Residents in city ZIP codes where COVID-19 vaccination lags behind the rest of the county will have an opportunity to get immunized near where they live.
On Thursdays through Sundays from April 8-25, one site in each quadrant will be set up to give neighbors easier access.
“Early on in our vaccination efforts we heard from many advocates about populations in our community that are not best served by large vaccination sites,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, referring to the Dome Arena and the convention center.
“If we really wanted to truly reach those communities, we need to bring our vaccination efforts into the neighborhoods to be closer to people and where they live,” he said.
The county is working with the city, the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub and community based organizations.
The effort comes 15 weeks after the state began allocating vaccine to counties. The initiative was announced April 1 during the county’s weekly COVID-19 media briefing.
When vaccinations started, only a narrow group of people were eligible and there were even fewer doses available than there are now.
In the past weeks, the city, county and community partners had staged pop-up sites at various places such as churches. The federal government and state set up a vaccination site on St. Paul Street at the former Kodak Hawkeye site, and that is scheduled to stay open until May 18.
Residents of those same ZIP codes were given a week’s head start to sign up for appointments at Hawkeye. Mayor Lovely Warren was adamant that it wasn’t enough time to get the word out. Once the site opened to the rest of the county, the initial slots were gone within hours.
Warren and others had pointed to known disparities in the toll of the illness, access to the vaccine and the digital divide that prevented many people from making an appointment.
Asked why it took so long to set up neighborhood sites, given those factors, Department of Recreation and Human Services Commissioner Daniele Lyman-Torres cited the ability to supply what she called standing clinics rather than pop-up sites.
Bello echoed the point about vaccine supply.
“We’re at the point now where we can really get into neighborhood specific ZIP codes that are running behind and bring them up to the county average,” he said. “It’s about making sure we have that accessibility.”
Bello said 1,100 doses will be available in the first week of the effort.
Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said the impact is more than the number of doses. He said the effort demonstrates the commitment to these neighborhoods and is a way to build trust.
Data from New York shows Black and Latinos lag behind whites in vaccination. Since the state began posting vaccination rates in mid-February, the percentage of Blacks being vaccinated has hovered around 8% of the total population and the percentage of Latinos has been a little more than 5%.
Bello said the rate in some city ZIP codes trails the county average by as much as 10%.
Starting April 2, residents in 14604, 14605, 14606, 14607, 14608, 14609, 14610, 14611, 14613, 14614, 14615, 14619, 14620, 14621, 14622 can make appointments at a site in their quadrant.
Here is the schedule:
- April 8 and 15, Baber AME: 550 Meigs St.,
- April 9 and 16, Memorial AME Zion: 549 Clarissa St.,
- April 23, Greater Harvest Baptist Church: 121 Driving Park,
- April 10 and 17, Jackson R-Center: 485 N. Clinton Ave.,
- April 11, 18 and 25, Edgerton R-Center: 41 Backus St.,
- April 24, Ryan R-Center: 530 Webster Ave.
- April 22 at a site to be determined.
Residents can go to www.monroecounty.gov or contact the following organizations for help with an appointment: United Way of Greater Rochester, Ibero American Action League, Lifespan, Person Centered Housing Strategies, Refugees Helping Refugees, and Community Health Worker Association.
Included in the collaboration are the Black Agenda Group, La Cumbre, the Ibero American Action League, the United Way of Greater Rochester, Lifespan of Greater Rochester and faith leaders.
The University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health are providing staff for the clinics.